Hiking with a Purpose

The idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail has always been at the back of my mind. Coming forward with a sweet caress every once in a while to remind me it’s still there. I was 30 when I left the service and was traveling around the world for an entire year when the idea hit me so hard I knew it was time to do it. So, I spent last summer training and backpacking through Colorado to prepare for it.

The Evolution of my Why:

My true reasonings for wanting to do the trail have changed throughout the years. When I was younger, I wanted to do it to prove to the people around me that I could. It later evolved into me wanting to do it to prove to myself that I could. To show myself that I can trust myself and finish something I set my mind too. It has now changed to doing this because I just wanted a break from the outside world. To slow down and not have to worry about anything but having food, water, and a place to sleep.

Don’t get me wrong I am still determined to finish. I didn’t realize what I was doing until later, when I decided to take the trail and my “why” to a whole new level. I decided, “I want to hike the trail to help raise awareness and money for conservation.” So, I did some research and found a nonprofit that I wanted to help. NICHES Land Trust is based in Indiana, and they have been protecting natural areas and the ecosystem for future generations to enjoy. I worked with them to set up a donation page right on their website, and both of us are marketing my hike to help them with their cause. People are able to pick an amount, say 10 cents per mile to donate, so every mile I walk they donate 10 cents. Which is the push to get me to the finish line because it means I’m raising them more money.

Why Understanding your Reason can Lead you to Success:

I’ve set up my “why” to have an even bigger purpose than just me. Now on the days when it’s storming, cold, and wet I can remind myself I’m doing this to help others. To keep pushing through and not give up. Your “why” or reason doesn’t have to be anything like that, but understanding why you truly want to do a thru-hike can help push you to your finish line. It is something to hold on to and remind yourself on the harder days.

I hope you have a beautiful day.
– Nicci Lee

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