Committing myself to the AT
As my first post I thought it would be relevant to give some background on myself pre-commitment to the AT, how I came to the decision to hike the granddaddy of long distance hiking trails, and where I am during the limbo between fully committing myself to this adventure and finally getting to hike my dream. Besides the actual hike I think the pilgrimage to the trail and along the trail is a beautiful piece of human discovery. So my pilgrimage begins.
I recently graduated from college with a degree and no trail to follow. In my last semester of college I found that I not only had precisely zero clue what I really wanted to do with my life after school but I was also finding that I didn’t like the person I was at the moment. During the fall and my last season of soccer I was bullied and harassed by my coach, something that knocked me off my orbit as a person and shook me to the core of my being. I lost my confidence, lost my sense of self, and lost a lot of my faith in people. As the end of the year approached I found that I was becoming more of a selfish person, insecure, and petty. On what was supposed to be one of the happiest days, college graduation, I had a complete mental breakdown because I did not like the person I was and I had no idea how I was going to change that. To put my breakdown into prospective my mother say she “had not seen anything like this from me since I was four years old” it was full out panic attack.
I then moved home with no job and no direction. It is truly a blessing that I live in the White Mountains because hiking became a therapy. As I hiked more and more throughout the summer I could feel the person I once was and actually liked returning with each uphill and every downhill. As the summer ended and fall rolled in I knew for the first time with full confidence what I needed to do, what trail I needed to take. In one last selfish act I committed myself to my dream, to the trail with white blazes; the Appalachian Trail. I am completely and fully committed to thru-hiking the AT.
Now post commitment I feel more myself and I can start to feel growth already towards the person I aspire to be! All days are not this way, I have moments where I am scared or overwhelmed with the 2,000+ miles that lie in front of me but I have never felt that I could not do it or that I ever wanted to quit. On the other end of the scale some days are truly the best days I have had! I had a completely euphoric moment of clarity and confidence when I finally told my best friend about what I was going to undertake. Her reaction was the best one to date and I felt more confident than ever I had made the right choice to pursue my dream (and lucked upon an amazing friendship). More moments of pure bliss and clarity are what I cannot wait to find along my thru-hike.
There are already ups and down before I have even started my hike but the days cannot go by fast enough till I can finally step atop Springer Mountain and then atop Mt. Katahdin. I am ready more than ever for every PUD, every mile in the rain, and every step that leads me towards growing as a person. Hike on!
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