Scared…but in a Good Way

I have to be honest. The idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail is scary. It scared me when I first thought about hiking the trail over a year ago. I’m three months out from the start date for my SOBO hike and I’m still scared…. but in a good way.

Not all fear is bad or a sign that you cannot or should not do something. Some fear is good and it compels you to take action. Here’s how I distinguish good fear from bad fear.

My fight or flight instincts kick in


When I’m scared by a bad fear, like a masked man with a chainsaw breaking into my home, my instinct is to run…i.e. flight. But when I am scared by a good fear, like hiking the Appalachian Trail southbound, then my instinct is to take action…i.e. fight. Good fear compels you to face the fear head on.

Mix equal parts excitement and fear


I know I’m dealing with a good fear when I also feel a sense of excitement about the same thing that scares me. When I decided to hike the AT I was incredibly excited! I started reading books, reaching out to people who had done it, making plans and sharing my decision with others despite my fear.

I cannot stop thinking about it


The idea of hiking the AT consumed my thoughts. I started thinking about how I’d do it. Which route should I go? When will I leave? How many miles a day would I hike? What about my gear? What types of food should I eat? Will I be like Snow White and make friends with all the wildlife? You get the idea…total mind consumption. Good fear spawns anxious excitement and gives your mind the playground to run wild with possibilities.

Lastly and most importantly…

Success never smelled so sweet


The biggest determining factor for knowing I’m faced with a good fear vs. a bad one is the overwhelming sense of accomplishment I know I’ll experience once I overcome the fear and successfully accomplish the task. All of the things that could go wrong and the negatives are overshadowed by the prospect of me trailblazing through 14 states and sitting on that beautiful boulder at the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail basking in the glory of my accomplishment.

Inhale deeply. What’s that smell? Body Odor? No. It’s SUCCESS!

Actually it’s body odor too.


To me, hiking the Appalachian Trail is a good fear and despite being scared I have run towards it ever since the idea popped into my head. So,come July I will face my fear and take a hike.


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Comments 1

  • Jeremy Morris : Apr 14th

    3 months! Almost here! When’s the leave date?


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