Reality is setting in…

Right at this very moment, I’m on my way to Georgia. As a lot of you know, and for those of you who don’t, I’ll be starting my thru hike tomorrow morning, on 03/13/16. This has been in the making for roughly two years, and as most hikers can relate to, it has consumed my mind. Having the last couple of weeks off from work has given me a little more time to think than usual, and with that much time, I’m at the point where I’m starting to freak out a little bit that it’s all about to set in and be reality.

Everyone is hiking for a reason. A thru hike is an admirable adventure, and whether it’s for the sport, for the love of the outdoors, or for more interpersonal reasons, taking on the challenge will test every bit of mental strength you have.

As I’m driving, and as I use some hindsight to look back on some of the adventures and experiences that have molded me over the last couple of years, I’ve realized that there isn’t just one reason that I’m thru hiking. My first section hike was back in March of 2014 along the NC/TN border. This was really the first time I got to experience the long distance hiking community. I went with a couple of my best buds. We packed our bags (poorly I might add), hit the road, drove down to the border and started out.

Although wildly underprepared, overly confident, and mildly nervous at the time, everything fell into place over the course of the week. We endured the normal trials and tribulations that one goes through on their first backpacking trip (sore feet, too much weight, etc). Nonetheless, all bad experiences aside, that first trip implanted the bug in me to want to thru hike. Being exposed to the types of people that you will stumble upon and meet was wonderful. The hiking community was, has been and hopefully will be the reason I continue to do this.

Inspiration has always been found in the most unusual places for me. It tends to lay dormant for a little while before it takes its hold on me. At first, the people were what really caught my attention. After more time spent along the trail, I noticed that I was taking inspiration from my home life. The emotions that I was exposed to living in Ohio are much different from what I’ve experienced elsewhere. Finding the drive and motivation to break away has been a direct result of living somewhere where you have never felt like you’ve belonged. I had an amazing upbringing, just in an unfortunate place.

I’m thru hiking to see the progression of myself and my peers. I’m thru hiking to see the east coast of the country I was born in. I’m thru hiking for a physical and mental challenge and to push my limits and boundaries. I’m thru hiking because I was inspired by simple acts of kindness from genuine people along the trail. I’m thru hiking to live as real, raw, and minimal as possible. Mostly though, I’m thru hiking to inspire others to chase their dream and to step out of their comfort zone. All it took was one one day full of memorable people and conversations to inspire me to do this. Life is full of challenges to either accept or to deny, I just so happen to have accepted this one.

If you want to keep up on my thru hike on the regular social media outlets, here are my handles:

Instagram: @nathanabauman

Twitter: @bauman_drums

Facebook: Nathan Bauman

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Comments 4

  • Avatar
    Bill : Mar 13th

    Best of luck to you on a safe and memorable experience!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Laney : Mar 16th

    Nathan best of luck , my own daughter started today and although not a poster kinda girl , I see your sentiments in her conversations as she tries to explain the why to all those who doubt or are afraid to explore themselves. Her best reponse to date is. Why not? Why would I not hike the AT ? Enjoy , be smart, be safe .

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Mitchell branscum : Mar 17th

    I hope to meet you out there man!! Starting April 1st!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Beth : Mar 17th

    Best of luck to you… Always remember to hike your own hike!

    Reply

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