Pre-Trail Growth

Pickens nose

“Not till we are completely lost or turned around… do we begin to find ourselves.” – Thoreau

T-minus 26 days.

All of our gear has been purchased. Our employers have been notified. Our landlord has been notified. Our family, friends, and even strangers have been told (and often retold due to excitement). Now comes one of the most difficult trials yet- waiting.

Now that we’re in the departure month, time seems to be speeding up and slowing down all at the same time. The excitement of telling all of our friends and family is waning, and now we wait and question all of the “nonsensical” actions that we’ve taken to pursue a dream. We’re leaving stability and security- what we’ve known as “normality” for the past year and a half. Now that we’re willingly losing what we’re comfortable with, and completely turning our world upside down- we can begin to find ourselves (as Thoreau would say).

I’m excited for miles, I’m excited for mountains, I’m excited to live in abandon for 5 months. I’m most excited for the journey and the personal growth I’ll gain as a treasure of the trail. As this pre-trail season draws to a close, I’m starting to realize that I’m presently afforded the ability to grow in ways that could help me to appreciate the Trail more. I’ve found myself growing in three specific ways recently.

Growth in Appreciating Relationships

I won’t see family, friends, coworkers, the guy who sells me my lotto tickets and Redbulls, or the man who makes subs at Ingles for 5(ish) months. That hasn’t hit me until recently. I’ve been recently trying (often failing) to step back from life’s chaos and appreciate the lives that I’ve had the pleasure to come in contact with. Appreciating the seemingly random chance that my speck of light has crossed someone else’s speck of light in the short time we get to live on Earth together. I know that we’re going to get to meet and share time with some of the most beautiful individuals on the Trail, and I hope to cherish the relationships we’ll build.

Growth in Mental Fortitude

Finishing Strong. I would be lying if I told you that I haven’t been tempted to mentally check-out as time has come closer to the beginning of our journey. Thankfully, my job doesn’t allow for me to mentally check-out. So I’ve been able to stay focused on finishing strong. It’s going to be imperative to carry this over to the trail. I know I’m going to want to check-out of our journey when facing trials, like: sore feet, eating the same meal for weeks on end, having my thunder-thighs chafe holes through my shorts, endless days of rain, etc. Mental Fortitude is all that will see us through the end of our trek.

Growth in Appreciating the Day-to-Day

I hear and speak the phrase, “just for today” (or something along those lines), probably close to 10x a day at work. Sadly it’s rare that I follow that advice. To wrap together the first two points: in learning to appreciate the relationships of those around me, and in keeping mental fortitude as we wrap up this pre-trail period, I’m learning to appreciate the day-to-day. I’m learning to appreciate moments (good or bad), because it’s a beautiful thing that we are live to appreciate moments. We must continue to continue to take life one day at a time, as that’s the only way we’ll get to Katahdin.


It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get the motivation and inspiration to put these words on (internet) paper. I think that is likely because I’ve become introspective as to what exactly we are leaving behind and embarking on. It’s funny though, because as I’ve typed this out I’ve come to a conclusion: that one journey doesn’t end where another begins- but our journey simply continues on, telling multiple stories in the same book.

Much Love,

Josh Stone

Affiliate Disclosure

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.

What Do You Think?