Postponing My Hike

I left my job and my apartment in Boston expecting to stay with my parents for five days on my way to Atlanta.

I thought we’d go out to celebrate my mom’s birthday on the 19th, then again for my last night with them on the 20th. Today was meant to be the day I fly to Atlanta to start my AT thru-hike. I’d planned to stay overnight with a friend and then start hiking the Appalachian Trail from Amicalola the following day. Instead, my friend and I are both back with our parents, waiting for the pandemic to be over so she can return to school, and I can hopefully set out for my hike. But there’s really no telling if that will even happen, or if it will be cut short in the fall from another coronavirus outbreak.

Of course, none of this is ideal. Ideal would be for everything to go according to plan. Ideal would be that I hadn’t left my job and moved out of my apartment and Boston before the ATC started recommending hikers postpone their thru-hikes. Ideal would be that I could reasonably predict what the future holds.

Setting up my tent in the backyard since I won’t be hitting the AT anytime soon.

But while I’m busy whining about postponing my hike, I’m content with my choice.

I don’t want to be an unwitting carrier and infect healthy people along the route. I don’t want to make this situation worse than it already is. I’m thankful that all my friends and family are healthy, and I refuse to be the one to carry the virus to a town along the AT and to a family experiencing the same anxiety that mine is.

Rather than continuing to wallow (which I’ve already done plenty of), I’m reframing my situation as more time to prepare. When I lived in Boston, I worked a full-time job in addition to nights and weekends at REI. When I wasn’t working, I was prepping for my hike, seeing friends, or catching up on sleep. Now, I have months’ worth of time. Time to tend to my plantar fasciitis (aka Stretch! Those! Calves!), time for more practice hikes, time to read, write, and exercise. I ran a marathon in November, but since then, I’ve put working out on the back burner because I figured I could get back in shape while out on the trail. Now, with so much free time on my hands, I can focus on building up my endurance and strength again so the first few weeks won’t be quite so brutal. So whenever I do set out on my thru-hike, whether it be in a few months or in a year, I’ll be even better prepared than I was before, and sure that I’ll be the only one affected by my decision.

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