My Thru-Hike Is Approaching: Why Am I Scared?

My Start Date Is Fast Approaching

It started as three years. Then five months. Now a mere 45 days away. The anticipation and excitement for long-awaited dreams to come true. Now, the fear and anxiety have set in. Like most thru-hikers before me, it started as an idea, which then festered into full-blown obsession. I grew up in a family that encouraged hiking and camping, but fell out of it as an adult.  My husband and I brought a northern breed mix dog into our family about four years ago. It quickly became clear that just a general walk around the neighborhood was not enough for this exercise-loving dog.  This realization brought me into the many trails of Maine, and a new way of life. A love of the trail. When I mentioned this obsession to a friend, she was fully on board with joining me.  The idea started to become a reality, but it was always safely far away. A mark in time to be excited about. To plan, research, and train. Now here I am. Forty-five days away.

So Why Am I Scared?

Is it the fear of failure? Yes. That. Maybe more.  Fear of success? That somehow, I will accomplish my dreams. Then what? Fear of getting hurt? Fear of the trail changing me? Maybe it is the fear of what I am leaving behind. Fear of leaving my husband and home? Fear of leaving the job that I love? The truth is, I’ve always been an anxious person, but fearing something so longed for just doesn’t make sense.

Fear Is a Liar

This dream is too big. Too precious. Too long anticipated.  And my fears? They are liars. And they will not stand in my way. There is little validity in these fears. All of these things that I fear leaving behind will be waiting for me when I return. The fear of getting hurt or being changed are applicable to regular life. They are not special to the trail. Besides. I am ready. I have the gear, support, and knowledge to do this. Even though I am scared, just allowing myself to have this dream is something to be proud of.  Daring to dream is bravery. When I first set foot on the trail as I start my NOBO thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I can be proud of the fact that I even made it that far.  And then it’s just one foot after the other. Or so I’m told. So I am doing it. My name is Briana, and I will be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail along with my big mutt Senna. Chasing dreams and telling my fears to take a hike.

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Comments 5

  • Just Bob : Jan 26th

    Great attitude !

    Keep telling yourself, “If others can complete this, why can’t I ?” “What is so different about them” ? “What makes them so special”? “Are they better than me”? When you can answer these questions you will find the answers bring the feat into context that they are not more advanced or better than you and you will find a renewed confidence in yourself.

    In the past, having had similar feelings as to what you described and by asking myself these questions on my last 4 thru hikes (and other big mountains) I have found the answers have inspired me to go forward and complete the assigned task at hand. Talk yourself through the apprehensions. You will do fine.

    Just my thoughts on this topic.

    Good luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jared : Jan 26th

      Good on u Brianna. This is ur time and place. U are taking on what most others wont and will reap the rewards that others will never understand. We are made for adventure and to push ourselves to greater things.
      All the best legend.

  • Effie Drew : Jan 27th

    It can be really tough to find that balance between confidence an over-thinking. Soon enough, you’ll be out there and all the anticipation will melt away. I’ve taken my dog along on all my thru-hikes too so I’m excited to read more from you once you’re on trail to hear about how your relationship with your pup evolves 🙂

  • Albert Runyon : Jan 28th

    Did you use dog boots? Much of the trail is abrasive!

  • Carla : Jan 29th

    Thanks for sharing, it helps to know that others feel the same way!


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