How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wait
This is what I looked like as a baby. I don’t look like this anymore.
I look like this!
I’m a 24 year old Californian who has found these truths to be self evident:
- All men (and women) are created equal
- I cannot spend the rest of my life sitting in a cubicle
In order to live out my life and feel proud of the person I am, I’m going to hike the AT in 2016! I’m gonna do it! I’m going to quit my job (I’m a geologist), drive across America, drop my car off at my grandma’s house and then walk from Georgia to Maine. Say whaaaaaat?
The first person I told was my dental hygienist in November of 2014, who seemed like the least risky person to tell. After all, I only see her twice a year. But then once I told her I couldn’t stop. I told everyone. And then, the most wonderful thing of all happened. My boyfriend, who is a hell of a lot crazier than I gave him credit for, he asked if he could join me! I said yes! I’m so excited!
This is what he looks like!
I’ve been backpacking since I was a kid.
Here’s a real life actual photo of when my parents tried to squash the love of backpacking from me in middle school.
It didn’t work! I love backpacking! More than pretty much anything. Then, when I met Eric, I got to teach him all about it because he had no idea, now he loves it as much as I do! (maybe)
We even went backpacking to celebrate my 24th birthday. (Point Reyes National Seashore! Tidal Falls! Wildflowers! Beauty!)
The desire to get out on the AT was strong this March and April, as we watched everyone set out on their jaunts through the woods, it became really hard showing up to work every day knowing that there were people out there living our dream, while we were stuck inside all day. I came really close to just jumping ship and heading off into the wild blue yonder before we had saved the appropriate amount of moolah, that’s how bad the itch was. At least there was air conditioning.
There are so many things to obsess about, if you really want to think about them. What food will I eat? Will I be able to walk far enough every day to make it in time? Is it reasonable to think I might need to leave Georgia in November in order to make it to Maine by October? I mean sometimes I’m really slow! Is the gear I have the right gear? Should I replace it now or wait until closer to when we leave?
I started to find myself so enthralled in the logistics of the trail that I stopped thinking about what I was doing here, my last year at home. Until I had a realization that the logistics of the trail isn’t the thing, at least, not the whole thing. All kinds of people have walked the trail. I know from reading about a million blogs that some people make it who spent years preparing, and some people make it who hardly prepared at all. The thing is allowing myself the space and time to embrace the challenge of the trail. By spending all of this time worrying about how much preparations I needed to do, I wasn’t allowing myself to be in the space and time I currently occupy. That’s some hippy shit.
So, I took a deep breath and relaxed. I am not going to take years off of my life wondering if the pack I have is right for me (It’s fine, if it’s not, I’ll get a new one). I’m not going to try to make a complete meal plan for every single day I’ll be on the trail. I’m not going to spend every lunch break every day pondering the benefits of cuben fiber over sil-nylon. I am confident that what I have and what I know will get me there. And what doesn’t work, I will find along the way. I am going to walk from Georgia to Maine. I’m not going to allow myself to worry away the peace and celebration I can have during the rest of my year at home (and in the Sierras, which I will miss plenty while I’m on the AT). I’m just going to keep on hiking, and love every moment of anticipation, because I will never get to wait like this again.
(Sword Lake, in Stanislaus National Forest, is not a bad place to spend some time waiting to hike the AT)
This week, Eric turns 24 too, and we are going to be taking a 5 day, 4 night trip in Yosemite. We will be summiting Half Dome and Clouds Rest with my dad and testing out some of the new gear treats we have recently been buying with reckless abandon. It’s also going to be one of the most physically demanding treks we’ve done, but we’ll make it. It’s Tuesday and I haven’t packed yet. But we’ll make it. And we’ll be present through every step of it.
So that’s what I wanted to say. I wanted to say hello, and I’m so very excited, and I can’t really wait at all, and I might even pee my pants about a brazillian times (yes, that’s a George W. joke) waiting to depart but I’m here and I’m present and I’m enjoying life before the trail in the midst of our preparations. (But did I mention how excited we are??) So drop me a line, and let’s be pals. I can’t wait to share with you all. Happy trails!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.