“We Were Not Expecting the Social Pressures”

My parents currently live next to the AT in Vermont. My dad in particular is always thrilled to meet new people, hear their stories, and support them. So, for the past two years, they have hosted thru-hikers in their basement: clean, dry space, laundry and shower options, dog-friendly, and sometimes breakfast. They keep a hiker log and this year, after I’d informed them I was doing the AT, they asked for tips for me, a future hiker. I was finally visiting them over Thanksgiving, and was able to peruse the book. This entry caught my eye specifically as we 2014ers get into the mode of hiking in just a few short months.

Apologies on the poor iPhone-ography

Apologies on the poor iPhone-ography

It says:

You’ll get an urge to compete – someone will always hike faster or further, or have a lighter pack. Our worst days were ones when we were either a) exhausted from pushing ourselves too much or b) down on ourselves for not doing “enough.” Really enjoy every day + do what’s best for you. We were not expecting the social pressures, but they exist. Once you are comfortable with your own hike, though, you can enjoy the great trail + wonderful people.

I was never one to worry much about this – after all, hike your own hike, right? Doesn’t everyone do that? It didn’t take long for me to answer that question. I have always been my own worst enemy. Settling into a shelter as you watch someone else hike right past you is not always a carefree feeling. “Oh, hike your own hike,” you say to yourself…but what if I went just a bit further? Or, what if I, too, sent my book home?

Make sure you do hike your own hike – and let others do the same.

Oh, and PS – their other piece of advice? “wasabi peas in trail mix – yum!”

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