Four Reasons Why I Will Thru-Hike the A.T. at Forty

Introduction

As a LASHER, or long ass section hiker of the A.T, I enjoyed the amazing opportunity of hiking  from Bear Mountain, NY to Grant’s Pass in Maine during the summer of 2019. I love the experience of exploring nature one step at a time, taking in the vast terrain and meeting fellow hikers. I would absolutely love to thru hike the A.T. and I will make that a reality this spring starting mid April. Why, you ask? Well, here are four reasons why I intend to put my body through this physical challenge of hiking 2,193 miles.

1. I am fit, fun and free


I decided that I will get healthier as I mature instead of the reverse. About five years ago, I became a runner in Hawaii. Exercising in nature brings me joy while keeping me fit. And, I want to enjoy my heart’s desires while my body remains healthy and capable. I started working when I was eleven years old and my new life philosophy is to do what makes me happy and brings my highest excitement. I won’t look back on my deathbed and wish that I worked more hours. And, I have created a life free of mortgage and car payments or all of the typical attachments to society. I have been fortunate enough to have friends and family keep some stuff in Hawaii, New York and Spain. So what better way to enjoy my freedom and celebrate this new decade of life than with an epic adventure?


2. The freedom it promises

 

The promise of freedom on the trail appeals to and entices me. True freedom means having necessities on your back and going to explore this beautiful world. There is no work or schedule that you must adhere to. You can simply enjoy the vastness and the beauty that surrounds you. Hiking allows you to observe each step and truly be present. Similarly, the simple task of walking towards a destination at my own pace tastes like freedom. And, I experienced this last summer after a three month quarantine in Spain. I walked from Galicia, Spain to France in six weeks with only seven kilograms on my back. Furthermore, I know I will feel free throughout my upcoming six month adventure on the A.T. And, with all of the external freedoms that have been stripped away due to the pandemic, this freedom will be even sweeter. 



3. The connection to nature, my higher self and fellow adventurers



Being immersed in nature daily soothes my soul. And, having it be a new location daily fulfills me. Surrounding myself with natural beauty will make me feel connected to nature and completely alive, like our ancestors. And, the fact that some locations can only be accessed by hikers brings for a more authentic connection. Not only will I be connected to nature, but when I hike long distances without the distraction of daily life, I can connect to my true thoughts. This connection to my higher self, or intuition, guides me to live the life that I truly want and helps me to become more of who I am meant to be. As if nature and connecting to my true self weren’t enough, I will be meeting other hikers. Sharing stories with fellow adventurers and building new friendships fulfills me.

4. The joy that it will provide



Being around other adventurers in nature brings me so much joy. And, what do I want to feel in life besides healthy, happy and free? I want to feel joy. Learning other hikers stories and laughing with them is a true joy. Moments like these make up a happy life. And, in my fourth decade of life on this planet, I know that stringing together moments of joy creates a happily-ever-after. And, the joy that unfolds when you are on a journey without planning anything makes up for the magic of life. Some of my fondest memories include traveling across country or hiking on the trail when the only agenda included enjoying the present moment. When I am free to explore the beauty that surrounds me, it brings me tremendous joy.

Summing Up the Secrets to A Happy Life And/Or Thru-Hike

I will be hiking the trail to celebrate a new decade of life, because I am healthy, and it will make me feel free and happy. If that is not the point of life then I don’t know what is!

 

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Comments 5

  • Avatar
    pauljam3s : Feb 20th

    The feels are real here!! This is a really good post. I am also on a steady route to becoming debt free and looking forward to where the trail will take me. Be healthy and safe travels!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    pearwood : Feb 20th

    Heather,
    Yes! All of the above, though number three was a big part of my decision to delay until 2022.
    Blessings,
    Steve / pearwood
    AT NOBO 2022 for birthday 72

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Red Bass : Feb 20th

    Go get it!!! I completed the AT and my tripple Crown at 40. I dubbed it my fit at 40 summer.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Mark : Feb 21st

    What is the A.T. please?

    Reply
  • Avatar
    LGKJR : Feb 24th

    Good luck, Heather.

    I thru-hiked the AT five years ago at 57. Let that alone be inspiration that you can do it, too, at 40.

    Started March 16 and finished August 24. Took me 148 days of hiking, plus 14 days off.

    This was my second completion of the AT. I was a LASHer just like you and finished my seven-year section hike in 2003 when I was 44. Age truly is just a number sometimes.

    Go get ’em and enjoy!

    Reply

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