Ivetta and I just got home from a great Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. We drove over 8 hours to the Florida keys on Wednesday and returned home on Sunday. All of that driving bookended a visit filled with friends, laughter, great food, and no small amount of good beer.
During that visit, while appreciating the vast bounty of food, I found myself thinking about how our lives are impacted during our months on the trail. We give up so much comfort and convenience to simply hike for months on end…there must be an amazing reward in return.
When thru-hikers are asked why they choose to subject themselves to over 2,000 miles of almost constant adversity, they are often unable to verbalize a substantive answer. It’s almost as if we are drawn to this monumental challenge by some unseen force. Often, we don’t question why, we just get busy making preparations for the journey, hopeful that maybe we’ll discover why during our hike. It’s possible we’ll realize our personal truth upon summiting Katahdin. Or, maybe, we’ll never truly understand what drove us to this venture…
But, it’s important to understand there is strength in being able to express why we are hiking. When times get tough, and they will, you’ll have a hard time convincing yourself to continue if you cannot express the reasons behind your voluntary suffering. It’s our nature to seek comfort in times of distress. By giving yourself a concrete reason for enduring, you will have an argument for those times when you are reflecting on the many comforts you have given up…simply to endure another day of cold rain. Just remember, this too shall pass and one day, after you have successfully completed your journey, you’ll have memories to share (along with the cold beer) during the next Thanksgiving with the family.
Here’s to the class of 2017 and our shared experience, it’s going to be an amazing trip!
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