Why I Should Not Hike the Appalachian Trail
I know, I know. Why start with something so negative? Well, I just need to air out all my doubts and all the doubts that other people have about this adventure. Just remember, despite all these reasons, I am still attempting a thru hike in March of 2018 🙂
Ow and just a short intro: I am a tall Dutch 30 year old girl (woman?), that slowly but steadily became crazy about long distance hiking the last 5 years. Apologies in advance for the mistakes I will make in your lovely English language, but I am not a native speaker (just a passionate watcher of English tv and movies).
Reasons why I should not hike the Appalachian Trail:
- Very injury-prone,to name all the hiking related ones: right knee (cartilage), left knee (muscle on the outside), left shoulder, lower back on the left. Just recovered from the left knee and lower back the last couple of weeks.
- Mountains are not my favourite hiking areas: maybe it is because I am from one of the flattest countries in the world, but give me the sea or a river to walk by and I am very, very happy. Put me in the mountains and I grumble and groan.
- Slow hiker, especially in mountainous areas. Going up? I am a snail. Wheezing and stopping every few seconds. Going down? Even more of a snail, afraid of ruining my knees again.
- Not a big fan of heights: like I said, I am a snail going down. I try to reason with myself that there is nothing to be afraid of, thousands of others have gone before me, but it does cost me more energy than others without that fear it seems.
- Fear of large mammals, mostly bears. Have never been close to one, never seen one in the wild, but the idea that they are as free as me walking around in the same area does not make me very relaxed.
- Hate of continued wetness and dirtiness. Perfect combination to make me grumpy as hell.
- Leaving behind a perfectly good job, great boyfriend and comfortable life. Why go on a crazy, uncertain, difficult adventure?
But you know what?
- I am as stubborn as they come. I want to do this, so therefore I am doing this.
- Physical injuries disappear and can be prevented: so that is why I am strengthening my body by working out more, following physical therapists advice, using hiking poles, trying out specially made insoles by a podologist and planning to do practice hikes as much as possible.
- Mountains are growing on me: the reward of a view or having climbed a complete mountain is something of itself, something that river walks and seaside walking can not provide.
- Even though I am slow, I am also a steady walker. I do not surrender easily and can walk for longer periods of time with no big problems. As long as I make it before Baxter State Park closes at the end of season, I am happy with my tempo.
- Fear needs to be accepted: bears and heights are inevitably going to be there, I just need to figure out what way I can best accept that.
- Grumpy I might get, but it also propels me forward. Just like positive energy makes me feel like I’m flying when walking, negative energy sometimes gives me a boost to steam ahead, whereby that negativity disappears after a while and just leaves behind strength.
- The one thing I am completely sure of: I am never, ever going to regret going on this adventure, even if I need to quit the first week. I crave adventure and exploration and even the preparation provides with me so much joy that I know I will enjoy it. I will hate it too, but I will enjoy it more!
More positive posts will follow 🙂
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