I’m Getting the Hang of This!
I have now been out on trail for five weeks and can feel my confidence growing. Thru hiking is getting easier and I am able to enjoy the hiking more without the stress of the small details. I am stronger, more carefree, and overall loving every aspect of trail life.
My Confidence is Growing
There are two kinds of confidence that I have grown into: self-confidence and trail confidence.
I have felt myself being more confident in social situations. Before the trail, I really didn’t like socializing in big groups. But out on trail I’ve become more comfortable being around larger groups of people and talking while in a group setting. Although big groups will always make me anxious, I love seeing myself become more comfortable and capable while in a group setting. I am able to voice my opinion or idea without being nervous about others’ judgment. I don’t know if it’s because everyone on trail is so friendly or if I’ve just learned how to not care about others’ opinions of me but I love it!
My trail confidence has also increased. When I started the trail, every morning I would start the day with two liters of water. I would get nervous about running out of water during the day and not being able to find a water source to get more water. I’ve learned that I will almost always find a water source somewhere along the trail and that if I start the morning with one liter of water it’s ok. I’ve also learned how to listen to my body and not stress about hitting a certain amount of miles each day. I can stop when I get tired instead of being miserable for the last three miles of the day. These two aspects of trail life were really difficult five weeks ago but as my confidence on trail has grown, I’ve been able to let go of my smaller trail anxieties.
Body, Mind, and Soul
Today one of my friends on trail told me that the first third of the trail if for the growth of my body, the second third is for the growth of my mind, and the last third is for the growth of my soul. I really like this idea but I feel like I’ve felt growth in all three areas already.
Yesterday I hiked 26 miles. I have my body, mind, and soul to thank for this amazing accomplishment. My feet didn’t start hurting until the last three miles because I’ve been getting physically stronger. All of the small aches and pains of the first few weeks have gone away and have been replaced with strong and capable muscle.
My mind helped me believe in myself. I was able to decide that I wanted to hike this mileage and as soon as I decided to do it, I knew that I could. I am so grateful for the determination that my mind is able to give me.
Lastly, my soul made the long day enjoyable. The morning was snowy and I enjoyed seeing everything covered in glittering white. The sunrise was stunning even though it was 20°F out. I felt my soul being fulfilled by every aspect of the nature surrounding me.
I Feel Like a Thru-Hiker
When I started my thru hike I wondered how long it would take to feel like a thru hiker. On day 28 of being out on trail, something clicked. I don’t know if it was hiking through a really scary thunderstorm or feeling proud of my purchase of a poncho. But when I arrived at camp that evening, I was different. I felt like a thru hiker. I am enjoying trail life so much. Even when I’m miserable, I am so happy to be out on trail.
Highlights from Days 28 Through 34
– I hiked through multiple thunderstorms and hail
– Hit 400 miles on trail
– Bought a poncho which makes rainy days much more enjoyable
– Camped at the highest shelter on the AT (6,270 ft)
– Camped in 15°F weather (coldest night yet!!)
– Hiked through snow for the first time on the AT
– Hiked 26 miles in one day (over hilly terrain with a full pack!)
– Hiked over stunning balds
– Had some awesome conversations with Bug while we hiked together
– Saw some cool waterfalls
– Finished North Carolina and Tennessee and started Virginia
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