It’s not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.
In less than 12 hours I’ll be on the approach trail and before the end of the day I’ll officially be on the AT on my way to Maine.
Last summer I went to Roan Mountain and hiked a few miles of the trail. I had mulled over the idea that maybe I could hike the trail (yes, the whole trail) but there were plenty of reasons I shouldn’t- I needed to go to grad school, I had people and places I needed to be with, and hiking 2,189 as a girl by herself was just a ridiculous dangerous idea.
Eight months later, I’m departing Amicalola Falls State Park to hike for six months by myself. It’s not the trail that caused any hesitation or fears I’ve had leading up to this point. It’s all the “what if” situations I’ve had running through my head.
I’ve slowly picked out the weight of fear from my pack- ace bandages, extra batteries, extra fuel, extra food- and slimmed it down to 21.7 pounds before food and water.
Already the trail has had so many positive impacts on my life and I’ve only taken a few steps on it so far to visit with a few other hikers at the shelter here in the park. And that’s a visit I really recommend to calm night-before-the-hike nerves if you aren’t already staying there.
I’ve reconnected with friends that I haven’t talked to in months. At the outfitter and bike shop where I’ve worked for the past year, I’ve met many other hikers with plenty of wisdom and excitement to share. If prayers were water droplets I would drown from all that I’ve received wishing me a safe and exciting journey. I spent my last two nights at home with my family, coworkers, and college friends to celebrate just one more night.
In myself, I’m learning to take more time to listen to what other people say. I’ve stopped filtering all my actions based on how they’re going to affect my immediate future as my days of “normal” life became fewer and fewer. In my effort to be more open to others, I’ve made some wonderful friends this year I might otherwise never have met.
In the Amicalola Lodge today someone had posted a paper with the quote from Sir Edmund Hillary-
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
I’ll be keeping that one with me for the next 6 months.
I am planning to make a blog post weekly from the trail but more frequently will be posting on Instagram since it’s a little less phone battery draining. Feel free to message me there or leave a comment here to get in touch with me!
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.