What People Think I Should Be Afraid Of (Vs. What I Am Actually Afraid Of)
When I tell people I am hiking the Appalachian Trail almost everyone has the same reaction. “Alone?!?” “You are bringing a gun, right?!?” “Aren’t you afraid?!?” All of this usually comes out in one breath. And then they start with the specific horrible things that I SHOULD be afraid of (if I had any sense).
Here are a few of the things people THINK I should be afraid of:
- People- you know the type- Sociopaths, ax murderers, and rapist who are lurking behind every tree along the trail.
- Wild Animals- Snakes that are just waiting for the unsuspecting hiker to come along so they can leap from their hiding places with fangs glistening and bears that stalk with evil intent just waiting for some tasty hiker to stroll by.
- And of course we cannot forget camping ALONE in the middle of nowhere. One can only imagine the horror of a silent campsite, with only the stars to keep one company.
Seriously, there is some reality in all 3 scenarios, but with common sense and a little bit of caution you are, I believe, safer on the trail than you are driving to or from your job.
Here is my list of things I am ACTUALLY afraid of:
- Weather- Specifically Hypothermia and Lightning- I have researched and tested my gear in some of the coldest weather expected so I feel I am prepared for the cold and I have an app on my phone that gives me the forecast for every shelter along the AT.
- Injury/Sickness- I worry about tick borne illness and other injuries that can be common on the trail. I really don’t want to fall and break anything or have an overuse injury. My plan is to start slow and steady. At least the cold will keep the ticks at bay early on.
- Failure (Trying new things I don’t KNOW I can do)-As I said in a previous post, I like things predictable, easy… My entire life I have shied away from new experiences if I do not already feel confident that I can succeed. This thru hike attempt is a huge leap for me. Leaving my family, my job, and the comfortable life I KNOW.
With the same common sense and caution that I need to avoid the exaggerated fears that I feel others have for me I can manage the first 2 items on my list. The third is the toughest one to overcome. Just hitting send on my application to become a blogger on Appalachian Trials was something that I consciously had to make myself do. But I did it and here I am admitting my fears and taking chances!
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Ticks can be active all year long, so be careful!
I can totally relate (except for lightening which I love). We only start a few weeks apart, do, who knows, maybe we’ll meet in person. In any case, I’ll be following you.
Following you online, that is. I reread my comment after postung it and realized it could sound stalkerish. No need to reinforce peoples’ ideas of the trail being some 2000 mile dangerous thug infested opportunity for certain ruin.
Oh, I’d add mice and the viruses they carry to your list. On my fear list, mice go way ahead of bears and rattlesnakes and much closer to ticks.
It’s all good. Got the same q Ustinov last year before my 4/16 start on Springer. The time alone and with others is awesome. I did not camp alone that often anyway, especially down south.
Exactly! (Are you my little sister I didn’t know I had?) I didn’t have the nerve to apply to be a blogger but I’m glad you did, not everyone on the AT is a 20-something.