The Why’s of It
Pretty sure anyone considering thru-hiking, has ever considered thru-hiking, or who has actually thru-hiked, has been asked, “why are you hiking 2,200 miles?!” probably a gagillion and a half times. I’ll even bet that most have perpetually changing answers to this question. I know mine does. But here’s a little bit about why I’m hiking (at least in my current state of mind)
#1 – The “American Dream” is BULLSHIT
Yes, total and complete hogwash. Maybe slaving away at a job you hate to pay off bills for shit you don’t need for the rest of your life until you’re stuck in a nursing home and realize that you never actually got out and did anything fun with your life is your thing, but it’s really not for me. At all. It took me 26 years and wayyyyy too many bumps in the road to figure this out. I don’t want it. I want to be happy and do something I can look back on and go “hot damn, I freaking did that”. I want a LOT of those memories.
If you ever have this thought, please go listen to Photosynthesis by Frank Turner right now. Completely life changing song (like pretty much all of his other music. Seriously, the guy is a musical genius and will be the majority of my trail playlist).
#2 – I have a love/hate relationship with people
I’m very friendly, I have a very outgoing personality (most days), I’m bubbly and excitable, but people’s inconsiderate attitudes really piss me off. Within the past year, I’ve worked really hard at getting in touch with myself and trying to be a good person, which has just made me realize how little the majority of our fellow human beings care for others. I totally get taking care of yourself first, but jeez people. Have some compassion for what those around you are going through!
Based off many of the stories I’ve read from those who have thru or section hiked, your faith in humanity can really be restored while hiking the trail. Plus, the opportunity to meet like-minded people is a very exciting prospect. I’m probably the most excited about building friendships and trail families with fellow hikers and trail angels.
#3 – MOUNTAINS
Pretty sure I’ll be kicking myself for this after my first mountain… or even big hill… but I seriously LOVE mountains. They’re majestic and beautiful and humbling and just make you realize how small you and your problems are. Well, for me anyway. Growing up in Houston, I didn’t get to see many mountains. Hell, hills are hard to come by in this part of Texas. I love the Texas hill country a lot, and will be doing a majority of my shakedown hikes out in that area, but it just doesn’t compare to mountains. Sigh.
#4 – I’m a big ol’ tree hugging, nature loving hippy
Seriously, being out in the woods just clears my mind better than anything else (except maybe books…. it’s a toss up). No worries. No stress. No problems. Just pure bliss. I love camping, I love hiking, I would GLADLY go live with the Brown family in Alaska (seriously, can I please just build a trapper shack of my own out there and join you guys?!), and while I’ve never had a true backpacking experience, I have every intention of doing so even before I get on the trail. I’ve even pinned about 20,000 places I want to go on shakedown hikes out in the hill country. Sure, I don’t know jack about bears or hanging my food or any of that, but I’m sure through research + trial and error, I’ll get the hang of it.
One thing I am well acquainted with is mosquitoes, which seem to be a common irritant on the trail. I guess even getting out of humid Houston wont get me away from the blood sucking little devils. Patooty.
and last but not least….
#5 – Why the hell not?
Seriously, why not. Blah blah my job. Blah blah my rent. Blah blah my this, my that, my whatever. No more excuses! Due to some of the road bumps I’ve previously mentioned, I am now living with my mom and carless (though I do have a job I thoroughly enjoy). Yes, it does suck to start from fresh at 26. But I no longer have those chains tying me to many of the usual obligations. I have no rent. I have no car payment. I’m childless. I can use this time to save up and do it, so WHY NOT?!?! I can’t seem to find a reason. I REFUSE to find a reason for that matter.
Ask me in a month… hell, probably a week… and my answers will probably change or evolve as they always do, but for now, this is why. And now I will leave you with a question/my favorite quote of all time that seems very fitting:
“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?” – Garth Nix, The Old Kingdom Series
beautiful white blaze photo courtesy of Flickr and https://www.cgpgrey.com/
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Frank Turner is rad! I saw him in San Luis Obispo, CA right after he broke his leg or foot or something. He was super good!