Thru-Hiker Thoughts: How I Realized Why I was Hiking the AT

I had lost sight of a specific reason why I was hiking the Appalachian Trail. It was becoming so daunting that I couldn’t even provide an answer to all that asked. Until, one day, the thought was finally formed in my mind, and I felt confident in my trek.
From the wise words of some podcast:

The trip gave me amazing sights, but it’s only in standing still that allowed me to turn those into lasting insights.

In my frustration hiking up an endless switchback at 4K feet, I realized something. There are plenty of reasons people do the trail, and I felt lost with only my fragmented ones. But it dawned on me. A fresh start. Walking endless miles through the country is like a reset. I’ve done so many things I am not proud of. Walking through pointy rocks, uphill, in the burning heat sucks, but it humbles you. Almost makes me feel like I’m paying my debts to myself and working as hard as I can to be a better person.
Another high up view of the mountains I worked so hard for.
The next day I felt another reminder after a 5k climb: it’s all little stuff and doesn’t matter. You hear it all the time, but when you can barely breathe and are fighting to get your legs over never ending rocks, it suddenly becomes very real. Every time I spend time in the woods I’m brought back to living in the moment and reminded of not sweating the little stuff. I wish everyone could feel this way… free, in control, you are directly in control of everything around you. You are responsible for the outcome. You are the reason and result for what is happening. I wanted so bad to blame someone else for my struggles. A reason, a scapegoat, for why it was hard, or why I was struggling.

Until I realized, it’s me.

It’s me that trips on rocks, controls how fast I go, when I stop.
When I want food, I eat it, when I need a moment to take it all in, I take it.

When you claim responsibility for everything that happens to you, the magic happens, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Even though I'm terrified of heights, my hard days climb was rewarded and I was so grateful.

Your journey is your own and no one else’s, and I believe it takes true passion to go into something without reason, discovering it along the way.
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Comments 2

  • Kwang s lee : Dec 19th

    Thanks for your beautiful writing.
    Wish you full recovery from long journey and happy holidays.

    Reply
  • Adam "Catch Up" : Dec 19th

    Raider and Indy,
    Opening my email this morning, reading notification email of my daily trail fix from “The Trek” noticing an interesting blog entitled Thru-Hiker Thoughts: How I Realized Why I was Hiking the AT, was like unexpected trail magic after opening the link discovering it was your blog post! Sharing your (re)discovery of the reasons for your journey hiking the AT is a great reminder for anyone, no matter where they are on their journey in life to take the opportunity to be self-aware of our attitude; to slow down take the time to cherishing the daily highlights and challenges alike, from beautiful vistas, new and wonderful relationships to the storms of life. I think you said it best, it takes true passion to go into a journey and discover your reason along the way, and you represnt that well and beautifully.
    I’m blessed to have met you during your thru hike journey and thankful for fueling Rabbit Foot and I desire further on our 2019 AT thru hike. Please give the sweetest most lovable Golden Retriever, Indy a big hug from me!
    Catch-Up…and Rabbit Foot!

    Reply

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