Over Hill and Under Hill: Seeing the Appalachian Trail
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
As of last night, I will be sleeping in a different place every night for the next six months. I will be walking thru lands I have never seen. I will be meeting hikers and trail angels and new friends I would previously never have met. I will experience weather and forest and nature in all its unaltered glory. Its purest form. Terrifying and true.
What is it that drives a man to seek this adventure, to search for something grand outside of himself, to challenge beyond the limitations that the mind has set? A year ago today, I would not have believed a time traveler telling me that I would be on the precipice of an incredible journey. A journey that will redefine who I am and what I perceived myself of being capable of. It is perception. I simply told myself that I could do it.
I recently came across this photo on Instagram and it resonated deeply within me…
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
So what would you attempt!? What would I attempt?! Again, I would not have believed someone had they told me I’d be attempting a thru hike a year ago, so what changed? What happened to me, in my mind, that now I not only know that I will be thru hiking all 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, but I will be standing atop Mt. Katahdin at the end; battered, bruised, challenged but successful. I believe it! I am accepting the challenges, most of them unbeknownst to me at this this moment, that will come day after day. I will not fail because I will not allow myself to. No trial will be too much to overcome, no test too difficult to pass.
If you can begin to alter your perception of what you can accomplish and become, your reality will change. You will become the person you desire to be in your head. You will believe in yourself, that you CAN achieve your dreams, however far away and lost they may be in the present. Thru hiking the AT was always a dream… Until I started believing. Believing led to researching, saving money, getting the necessary gear, reading every article I could on this website (thanks Zach!), planning to quit my job, moving my stuff home and getting into hiking shape. Now here I sit, writing this for the very website I dreamed of adding my adventure to!
Planning for a thru hike took more time and effort than I ever thought it would. It was stressful and difficult but it was an organic process that had to be done. I did not know what the process would be like, but I continued with it, followed thru til the very end. If you can start to imagine yourself doing whatever it is that you so deeply desire, the process will follow. You can become that which you “see” in your mind. I do not know what to expect tomorrow morning in Amicalola Falls State Park. And I don’t want to. I do not know what to expect over the next six months of my life. Mentally, I am ready. I believe I will hike 2,200 miles and enjoy the experience of every moment. I have been searching for an adventure and tomorrow, I don’t know where I’ll be swept off to…
featured image cred to https://anabruno.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/nz-10.jpg
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“What is it that drives a man to seek this adventure, to search for
something grand outside of himself, to challenge beyond the limitations
that the mind has set?”… The same thing that drives a woman to do the same thing…
For some strange reason I received two of those in the mail and had the exact same thought! Also, I’m fairly certain that’s the best artistic rendition of the AT that I’ve ever seen! Maybe I’ll run into you out there eventually, but if not, Happy Trails!