Making The Most Of Your Pre-Hike Hype

There’s still time before we take the first of over four million steps it’ll take to cover the Appalachian Trail, but mentally, we’re already out there.

Anticipating weather patterns on your start date, scoping out campsites with the best views, re-reading Appalachian Trials. This hike has bled into almost every thought process we have. But before these preparations become a reality, we have a few loose ends to tie up. Those final workweeks, final exams, final arrangements for your dwelling and the belongings it holds, and final goodbyes before coming home smelling like a raccoon. Time to ride that hype and get shit done.

If You’re Having Trouble Focusing On Work Or School

  • Focus on the fact that the work you’re doing will add to the financial cushion for your trail expenses. With food costs, bills back home, gear replacements, town trips, and possible medical expenses, thru-hiking isn’t cheap. You’ll be grateful for every cent you’ve earned and every pack of ramen it affords you.
  • With school, focus on the simple peace of mind you’ll gain from having completed your academic work. Even if you’ll be re-enrolling after your hike, revel in the fact that you’ll have a few months free from exams, case studies, and deadlines. (Easier said than done. I’ll be the first to admit that a good amount of these posts came together when I should’ve been studying kinesiology or while waiting for my shift’s relief to arrive.)

If Every Tab On Your Browser Is A Trail Blog Or Forum

  • It’s great to get whatever perspectives you can from other hikers, but be sure to get outside and make your own experiences whenever you can. Grab your pack, fully load it, and start trekking. Practice hanging some bear bags while you’re at it.

If More And More Time Is Being Spent Watching Trail Videos

  • Again, it’s great to learn what you can from other hikers, and to get glimpses of the trail community, but don’t forget to spend time with your community at home before setting off. It’s your family and friends who you’ll be missing on the trail. Tell them about your hike and answer the millions of questions they’ll have. Throw an awesome going-away party.

If Your Gear List Is An Obsession

  • Aside from being an important part of prepping for your hike, let’s face it, it’s just super fun to get your pack dialed in. It’s also super easy to get carried away. Learn to love the gear that works for you, and don’t fall into the hype of buying more because there’s a newer version or it’s on a famous hiker’s back.
  • Get your standard life “gear” in order. Any home, vehicle, or loan bills that need to be taken care of in your absence? Will your pets be well cared for? Are your possessions safely stored until your return?

You’re about to set out on one of the biggest adventures of your life. Don’t spend that time worrying whether you earned enough to sustain yourself, any missed time with loved ones, or what kind of living situation you’ll be coming home to.

Spend those moments admiring summits, making friends, and embracing all the suck that the trail can throw at you.

Thanks for reading and let us know what you’re doing to prep for your hike!

See y’all later.

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