This. Sick. Beat.

Why I have decided to hike with music

Recently I have been wrestling with the idea of not taking my beloved iPod classic on my thru hike this spring. I had just assumed it would accompany me since I decided to thru hike the trail. I am definitely one of those people who does not leave the house without their headphones. I always feel a little lost when my iPod dies or those headphones are nowhere to be found (it’s the worst!). Six months just seemed like an incredibly long time to spend without the sweet sounds of my favourite artists making me feel like I can accomplish anything.

While doing an afternoon of trails in Whistler I was challenged to rethink this decision. I was explaining why I wanted to hike the AT and about the gear I was planning on bringing with me to some friends. One of the points on my “I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…” is to experience the neat simplicity the trail has to offer. I talked about being caught up with the distraction and addiction that tends to go hand in hand with technology. So since then I’ve been reevaluating if bringing my iPod would compromise this experience.

During my first experience on the AT two years ago I did a week long section of the Smokies with 5 other girls. I left my iPod in the van for the week. It was a neat experience to be unplugged and completely engaged in all things trail but when things got tough I found myself focusing on the bad. I am typically a pretty positive person but like anybody there are days when I definitely need that extra bit of encouragement. That is what music means to me. Also that way I don’t have the same song replaying over and over in my head. That week it was “Life is Life” by Noah and the Whale – one of my favourites so I didn’t mind all that much.

This past weekend I went on a two day shakedown hike on the Bruce Trail. Not gonna lie, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the word shakedown is the Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off”. I couldn’t help but listen to that song a few times during the hike. I’m know I’m a bit of a dork but it made it more fun. Music motivates me!

SO here’s what I’ve come up with. Yes brining music will change my experience – but not necessarily for the worst. If all I do is listen to music I will lose the simplicity of the trail. But on the flip side music serves as a big motivator for me. Everything in moderation folks! The iPod is coming to Katahdin!

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Comments 3

  • George Turner : Nov 22nd

    My poison is audiobooks. Game of Thrones or something equally fun

  • Tyler Girardello : Nov 22nd

    I think it is a great idea to bring music, out of 6 months there is going to be MORE than enough times to be “in-tune” with nature. For those long dreary hikes, where it feels like it isn’t going to end, it will be nice to be able to plug the ear buds and and just go.

  • Judy : Nov 24th

    Absolutely! I thought the same thing. For a minute. It didn’t work. The distraction that music brings to me allows me to focus on my surroundings! The beat and melody can set my stage for the day and give me the energy I need.


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