Getting Present Before Hitting the Appalachian Trail in 2021
There are many ways to get present before hitting the Appalachian Trail in 2021. Life gets crazy sometimes and that craziness manifested in full force with the year 2020. Layoffs, closures, people ratting each other out, it felt like we were left to fend for ourselves in the middle of a Mad Max movie. Amidst the chaos, I had to find a way to center myself – get present before hitting the trail in 2021. Getting present keeps me grounded, strong, and wise. Getting centered is a thing I have been working on for some time in my life. 2020 gave me some space to get better at it.
Breathe in the good, exhale the bad. Meditation is a go-to for people when they want to de-stress and get the good vibes flowing. The trick, however, is to notice things are about to get squirrely before it happens. One great way to get on top of this is to meditate upon waking. I can tell (every time) that I did not stay in bed for fifteen minutes minimum and center myself before stepping out of my zone. I have always been into meditation. After 2020 and making the grand decision to hike the Appalachian Trail, things got even more chaotic and I had to dial up my downtime.
YouTube has some great videos for beginners. There are two key points.
- Focus on the breath
- Get a catchphrase to focus on for your mind. Sometimes I use ‘I am a success’ or ‘Things are always working out for me’ as mental blinders while I focus on my breath.
I’m not sure how much gear I have accumulated over the years, but I can say it is a lot. Tents, backpacks, socks, and many more items now sit on my stairs. While I excitedly tick the days off my calendar, the clutter makes an impact on my mental health. Clutter is chaos and chaos is detrimental to my well-being. It’s fun looking at my gear every day as I daydream about my hiking adventures in less than 73 days. Now, as the new year draws closer, I made a personal note to make my gear video and organize it. If I can’t fit it in my bag, I can’t take it with me! So, are the two Nomadik boxes stuffed with fun hiking gadgets helping?
I have to get what I truly need packed in my bag, and pack the rest away in a gear closet. As much as I want to bring five pairs of underwear, four pairs of socks, and three water bottles with me, it is not practical. In hindsight, I see that, but all the laugh reactions to my gear list on Facebook kind of sent the message home.
Eating right is a challenge, especially while on the trail. It’s difficult to not eat granola bars, oatmeal, and ramen on a daily basis. The last thing I want is to get burned out on what I’ll be eating for 4 – 6 months on my 2,200-mile journey. I do love oatmeal, but I literally just read a comment on Facebook from a thru-hiker who said she still can’t eat oatmeal and that it has been two years. That kind of sent a message to me. So, I went out to the grocery store and got myself some other types of breakfast and lunch.
I won’t be munching on many fruits and veggies while trekking up the east coast. Eggs, three-course dinners, and grilled cheese are also go-to’s before I set off on my adventure in March 2021. Based on YouTube videos and what I know from road tripping, it is a challenge to eat healthy on the trail – but it can be done. Food is fuel, and it is important to make sure most of it is high octane.
It is important for me to be as healthy as possible before I begin the journey of a lifetime. Getting my mind, body, and energy right is one of the best ways to prepare for my adventure. Each day before my journey begins in March 2021, I make it a point to do something proactive for my thru-hike. Meditation, decluttering, and diet are three key points in my pre-hike journey!
*Yes, I took that picture of the bear! The AT on the other side of Palmerton.
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