Five Final Thoughts Five Days Out from my Thru-hike
Awe yeah! Five days and I am so pumped! Southwest emailed me, “your trip is around the corner.” I replied “oh you have no idea, Southwest!” Five years ago I first decided that one day I will hike the AT. Five months ago I told my boss at work that I will be leaving in the spring to go hike the Appalachian Trail, that I wanted to minister to fellow hikers, experience God in a new way, and see how God has been calling me. And now I am five days away from actually beginning this thing!
*squeals of excitement*
So, because people on le internet love lists, I will make yet again another list! Here are five final thoughts I have as I sit on my couch five days from starting my thru-hike.
Planning is no joke.
I commend people who decided to pick up and go hike the AT or any other long distance hike with only a couple weeks to spare. Seriously, I think spontaneity would actually be easier when it comes to planning for a thru-hike. The hours spent looking (and dreaming) about gear, pack weight, food item, resupply points, training, missing people, and everything else is exhausting. It would be so much easier to be like “Yep, I am going. I need a pack–ok got a pack. I need shoes–ok got shoes. etc. etc.” The tireless exercises of “well what about these pants… oh no those are 10 oz! That can’t be, these are 7 oz. oh my” is so draining. I was happy once Christmas came and the REI gift cards trickled in, for I was able to finally just make a decision and purchase some gear!
2. I am a badass woman.
I have become obsessed with analyzing the faces people make when I tell them what I am about to do. And then again after I tell them when I am leaving. For so many people hiking the AT or PCT or Camino are all dreams that they have in a “one day” file. When I tell people that I am going to do it, and I am leaving next week, their eyes light up…then immediately turn to concern and jealousy. I preached at a church a while back about my trip and the ministry work my team will be doing, and I was the most popular person with all the dads of the congregation. Yeah, I am a badass woman.
(note: women wherever you are–you too are a badass. when you crush it at work and your male co-workers are stunned that you pulled it off, you are a badass. when you change the face of what society deems beautiful by sharing your self love to the world, you are a badass. when you give birth, you are a badass. you are a badass. you are a badass. we are women, hear our cry.)
3. Can’t wait to walk off the “pre-trail” weight-gain.
There is my normal weight, the “yeah I eat what I like, and I eat a salad, and I run, and I sit on the couch” kind of weight. Then there is the “well I know I am going to go hike for six months so I can totally eat this entire bucket of cream puffs and get fries later” weight. I am somewhere between the two. My body is finally catching up to my mind: it too is longing for the trail. It is ready to step one foot in front of the other for 5 million steps. It is ready to ache, and see what it can do. My legs have become too comfortable propped up on my coffee table.
I am in the mindset of “I want to eat all the foods I am going to miss on the trail,” so you get where I am at.
New Haven, where I live, is a great little somewhat foodie town. We have amazing pizza (like really amazing), we have great farm-to-table chic restaurants, and we have a pretty decent spread of authentic Thai and Vietnamese food. Basically, I have an excellent choice for food at any given moment. This also means I have eaten Pad Thai for three nights in a row & I am waiting for my mashed potato pizza later tonight. (yes this is a thing, BAR pizza in New Haven, look them up) But seriously, lets get that “trail weight” going.
4. #at2017 on Instagram is the best thing right now and the worst thing right now.
I have serious fomo of people who are on the trail. It makes me so excited to join everyone! I love waking up in the morning, scrolling through my Instagram (which is my fav social media), and seeing where people stayed the night before & hearing about the miles they did. The pictures of campsites, weird food choices, shelters, friendly hostels, and hiker trash meals in town, makes me smile. I have messaged some people who are on the trail right now asking the not-so-obvious questions.
“How’s the homesickness?” “What has been your favorite time of day on the trail?” “How is God out there?”
Following #at2017 is a joy for me! I am a digital evangelist at heart. So, following a hashtag, using it to connect with people who are on the trail now, or who are joining, brings me great great joy. It stirs up the part of me thats like “let’s just get on the trail already! I am done planning, let’s do this.” So there is also that.
5. It is what it is, and it will be what it will be.
I am bringing a mini-matchbox-icon with me that my friend made me: St. Julian of Norwich. Julian famously said in a vision of God “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” This is perfect to use as a mantra on the trail. In rain and storms–it shall be well. Beautiful days that my legs feel good–it shall be well. Sitting around a picnic table talking about the day to come while it snows — it shall be well. All manner of things, good, bad, wet, cold, dry, funny, sentimental, monumental, shall be well. I will miss people, I will really miss my man & my cat, I will miss the luxuries of everyday life, I will miss HGTV (yes, yes I will), I will miss weddings and birthday celebrations and happy hours and all the things that have been a part of my life up until this point. I will miss all of these things.
If I skip out on this adventure, I will miss the opportunity to become who God created me to be. I will not be myself if I don’t step foot on Springer mountain with strong heart and woefully out-of-shape legs.
All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
Friends, let’s begin this beautiful adventure and see what God has in store for us.
See you on the trail,
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