The 3 Most Important Lessons From The Trail
I’ve made it 470 miles on the Appalachian Trail thus far. I’ve had great days, bad days, and everything in between. I felt as if I prepared both mentally & physically for trail life the very best I could. However, actually living this life day in & day out I now fully understand how difficult it is to make it all the way – Georgia to Maine. This thru hike is the single hardest thing I have ever done. I aim to see it through to its finish.
What I’ve learned….. *So far:
1. The trail is King.
Mother Nature knows what you want to happen, so she will most likely provide you with the opposite. If you don’t embrace the hard days, the good ones will never follow. Ones attitude makes all the difference.
2. Listen to your body.
I’ve seen some gruesome things on trail thus far, lost toenails, torn knees & ankles, sickness, serious falls down steep rocks, and much more. Learn to understand the difference between pain & injury. You must push through pain to make it to Katahdin, but pushing through injury will assure you will not reach your goals.
Last and most importantly…
Just because you’ve chosen to follow your dream and thru-hike the AT does not mean life everywhere else stops. You will still have to deal with problems, issues, and obstacles from your ‘real’ life. You will have highs and lows with family & friends- on trail and off. You will most likely feel the strain of finances in some way – gear broke or needs to be replaced, spent too much in town, or have to push more miles instead of going to that nice hotel and hot shower. At times, you will have to rely on the kindness of others to get where you need to go. You will have large stretches of time without cell service. A successful thru-hike can be as much about overcoming these obstacles as walking the miles. Through all of these ‘Trials’ remember to be present. Accept & act on the things you can control and don’t fret the day away on those you can’t. Live in the moment. Take time to look around and truly live each day to its maximum. Take a zero when needed or hike 20+ miles if your up to it. Appreciate all that you do have, the little things in life add up. You have already conquered so many difficult decisions & obstacles to even begin your hike, allow yourself the freedom to enjoy it.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” -Eckhart Tolle
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