Why I’m Hiking
Here’s a brief summary of the doubts that pop into my head
- What if I don’t make it
- What if Eric and I end up hating each other
- What if I run out of money
- What if I get lyme disease
- What if I break a bone
- Am I seriously the kind of person who can do this thing?
In fact, self doubt is a big part of the reason I decided to hike the trail in the first place. I have a mixed bag when it comes to feelings of self-confidence. When I heard of the Appalachian Trail and the people who thru-hike it my first thought was, ‘that is so cool, I want to be the kind of person who thru-hikes the Appalachian Trail.’
And why shouldn’t I be? What is it about me, like really, that makes me the kind of person who doesn’t hike the Appalachian Trail. That’s when I decided I would hike it. I determined that the only reason I saw myself as the kind of person who doesn’t thru hike the AT was that I hadn’t thru hiked the AT. I had decided to let inaction define my self image. Which is bullshit. I must have been having a good self-confidence day.
But since then I’ve had some not-so-good self confidence days. Days when I’m in the backcountry and I just don’t want to hike. I want to sit down by that really beautiful alpine lake and just read a book for an afternoon. Days when I’m in the office thinking about how much my back hurts from sitting in an office chair all day, what will my back feel like after carrying everything I need to survive? Days where I’m tired, or cranky, or sniffly, or sore. Days where if I really wanted to, it would be easy to give up before I’ve even started.
I’ve had some great self-confidence days too. Days where I dream of standing on top of the sign at Katahdin; days where I imagine myself setting up my tent in the pouring rain and laughing about it; days where I run a little further than I did the day before and feel like I’m an on-top-of-the-world badass.
Most days are a mix between you’ve got to be kidding me, and you’ve totally got this. So, for the sake of the thru, I’m posting, on the internet, for the world to see,
My list of reasons I am hiking the Appalachian Trail
- Because I can. I really can. SO MANY UNLIKELY PEOPLE HAVE DONE IT. I even saw somewhere on the internet that one guy did it with his tuba! I mean, I really CAN hike the whole Appalachian Trail.
- To prove that I can. I’m tired of thinking “you can’t do this” about things. I grew up as a less than athletic kid with a nose in a book. Throughout life I have avoided doing things because I didn’t feel like I was physically capable of keeping up with my more athletic friends. (by the way, I’m totally not capable of keeping up with them. But I don’t have to!). And I know what you’re thinking. YOUR FIRST REASON WAS “BECAUSE I CAN, ISN’T THAT THE SAME THING.” I suppose it could be the same thing to some people, but to me, knowing in your head that it is possible is completely different from actually going out and doing it.
- To see the world in a different way. I want to live slower, experience pain, struggles, and hardship and face it with determination, rather than despair. I want to feel weak and overcome that. I want to feel angry and overcome that.
- To hike the trail. The Appalachian Trail is so beautiful, and so different from anything I’ve hiked on the west coast. I want to see all the sites. I want to be in the green tunnel. I want to be on the ridge lines and balds, I want to run through a thunderstorm and pee my pants because I’m so scared I’m going to get hit. I want to experience all those things and I want to experience every excruciating inch of those things.
- To avoid selling myself short on life. I feel like it’s been so easy to check out and cruise through some parts of my life, half-way conscious of the fact that I exist. I want to make a conscious decision every day that I am living my life to the fullest potential. I want to stand on top of Katahdin and look South and know what I’m capable of.
- To push myself to the edge. I want to challenge myself. I want to do something where I don’t have a guarantee of success. I want to do something where I know I can fail if I don’t give it everything I have. (Or even if I do give it everything I have)
- To look more badass than my brothers. Let’s be honest this whole thing is really about showing them up.
Let’s do this thing.
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Haha the baby photos. You’re gonna leave those kids in the dust. We won’t hate eachother! I believe in you!
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