My dreams set me up (for success on the A.T.)

For in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let them swim in the deepest ocean or glide over the highest cloud. -Albus Dumbledore

If dreams REALLY foretold glimpses of our futures, then my dream maker is broken. I should be able to fly by now. Don’t mistake my sarcastic remark with a sincere dislike for dreams! On the contrary, dreams are what have brought me to the start line of this crazy upcoming adventure.

For probably the past 4, no, maybe 9 months I’ve dreamt of NOTHING but hiking along the A.T. during my thru-hike. I’ve already visited ALL the major trail towns (in my dreams)… I’ve already learned first-hand how to deal with being WET ALL THE TIME (in my dreams)… I’ve learned how to NOT squat in an area of poison ivy while pooping (in my dreams)… I’ve certainly gained my trail legs as I’ve hiked close to 1/2 of the trail now (in my dreams)…I know how to overcome the inevitable homesickness that will hit because I’ve already spent SO MUCH TIME out there (in my dreams)…I know how to deal with the unforgiving, relentless hiker-hunger because I’ve run out of food a day and half early before reaching my next resupply point (in my dreams)…I’ve suffered through bouts of Giardiasis from drinking untreated water (in my dreams)… I’ve dealt with hours of open ridge lines under the sun making it feel like Satan is tea-bagging you the entire way (in my dreams)…thanks dreams! Yeah, I think I’m pretty much prepared for what lies ahead!

No, I do not suffer from that low of a level of gullibility. As a matter of fact, I am probably one of the most LEAST experienced hikers there is going to be attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail this year. I’ve seen others wayyyyyyyyy worse off than me that have successfully made it in one season, so I know it’s just a matter of getting out of my head–psychologically. I’ve given myself a few shakedowns in all weather: summer, spring and most recently winter, and feel pretty dang good about my choices in gear…do’s/don’ts, shoulds/should nots,will’s/will not’s—you get the picture.

My point is, I’m glad my dreams originally gave me the confidence to believe I was capable of such a massive endeavor. It’s for that reason I began my intense research into the matter. I’m even more grateful that I wasnt gullible enough to believe it would be as easy as my dreams made it seem. I made sure to get out there for some real-life, out-from-under-the-covers practice in the woods.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned through practice hikes, shakedowns and interacting with past and future thru hikers is to stay humble during your hike, hike your own hike and offer advice but don’t claim for it to be the “right way” because there isn’t one. Staying humble and accepting what the trail gives me at any given point will be the biggest challenge for me. Damn dreams set me up…it’s not always sunshine and daisies…NO RAIN, NO PAIN, NO MAINE…so they say!

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