Why My Eyes are Set on Katahdin

It’s done! C’est fini! Woop woop! A week ago I walked across the stage to receive my diploma, and ended something that I’ve been doing my whole life. I’m pretty excited about the new change, but with this pretty public event, the following question is not far behind… “So what are your plans for after school?”

It’s always a throw up of how someone will react when I tell them my ambitions, and let’s face it, my now obsession. So this is a sort of response for everyone, down on paper, to try and answer the “simple” response of why the A.T. is next in my book.

A.T. graduation cap? Check. Continually adding to my hiking obsession? Check.

A.T. graduation cap? Check. Continually adding to my hiking obsession? Check.

So Why am I Hiking?

I’ve noticed that I always seem to be longing for experiences that make me straight up face the edge of my comfort zone and dwindle in self-improvement/reflection. I’ve recently discovered that the backcountry is the perfect place for all of it and creation is one of the greatest teachers. At the beginning of August, I landed back in flat, cornfield dominated Midwest from my first major month long backpacking experience. Coming back to the reality of everyday life is proving way more difficult than imagined. Do you know that “high” feeling whenever you come back from a fantastic trip, vacation, or memorable event? This feeling, I still currently have, it’s that, but also completely different. It’s a feeling that if I had to put it into words, is a thorough turnover of my being; what I thought was important, what I thought was deemed “success”… even reevaluations of relationships, aspirations, and self worth have been taking place. Plainly, CRAZINESS.  I’m still processing and figuring out what all this means for me in my post-grad future, but I know one thing is for certain. I have to get back out there. It’s not an idea or a far off dream anymore. But pursuing this thru hike is a chance to step away from the fluff in our lives that we’ve grown too accustomed to. I’m giving into this growing pull towards Springer Mtn. Maybe a push from the guy upstairs? Who knows, but I’m running with it!

Essentially, I want to look back on my life, only to find it full of “what?! Did I just do that?” moments. I think one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite persons says it so eloquently:

“Just as drowning cannot be equated with swimming, mere existence is not the same as abundant life.” – Jon Foreman

Portions of my abundant life are always found whenever I step foot on any trail. I can’t wait for this next endeavor, to say “yes” to a dream of mine, to meet fantastic fellow hikers, and to take on this next challenge.

My fellow AT 2016 preppers, what are your reasons? I’d love to know. Hold fast to them, as these reasons will help bind us to this winding, crazy track ahead.


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