No Time Is Perfect, So Why Not Now?

Hey there! I’m Gabrielle, and I’m starting a NOBO hike of the Appalachian Trail in just a few short months. I still can’t keep a straight face when telling my friends and family about my upcoming adventure, so it feels even crazier to post this on the internet! Still, I’ve been inspired by the countless “Why I’m Hiking” lists out there and wanted to share mine too.

A short story so you know a little about who I am

Last month I needed to buy a new shoe for my best friend’s wedding. So naturally, I pulled up Zappos and typed in “flat gold sandal.” For some unknown reason, I felt compelled to look at every single flat gold sandal on the Zappos website before deciding. And it gets worse. After reviewing all 397 options available in my size, I was too overwhelmed and closed my laptop without buying anything. Although I continue this pattern of over-analyzing and not acting, I cannot rationally tell you what I am worried about. Maybe I subconsciously believe that the world will end because I picked the wrong shoe!? I’ll be the first to tell you that it makes no sense.

No time is perfect, but any time is good

When I started talking about my goal to thru-hike the AT last spring, most people (myself included) thought this would be another topic that I spent hours researching, but eventually talked myself out of. And let’s be real, there are a lot of times that almost happened. What if I don’t like sleeping on the ground? What if it rains? What if the shelters are full of mice? You’re telling me I won’t be able to carry deodorant??? This is just scratching the surface of my fears about life on the trail and, the reality is that most of these “what ifs” will eventually happen.

In addition to all this, I was worried about how I would even make it out onto the trail in the first place. Can I get the time away from work? Will I miss the summer vacation we’ve been planning? What about that wedding I said I would go to? I cannot imagine a scenario where stepping away from your life for a period one to six months does not present some logistical nightmares, but am happy to have learned that most people were super accommodating after talking it through.

So, I cannot say I broke my habit of over-analyzing everything, but after all the deliberation, I finally womaned up and made the decision to get out there. Saying there is never a perfect time is not an excuse. It’s just another way to say that any time is a good one.

Other short-winded reasons why I’m hiking

  1. Be OK with not knowing how this will all turn out.
  2. Take time to let my mind wander.
  3. Look at trees for 15 hours a day instead of screens.
  4. Build physical and mental strength.
  5. Carry everything I need on my own back.
  6. Get a trail name.
  7. Brag about this for the rest of my life. 🙂

A final note

I feel incredibly lucky to have such supportive family and friends (despite their initial protests and disbelief). For those who are still trying to muster up the courage to tell their friends what they’re up to, I’ve included some of the funniest comments and nicest words of encouragement I received below. Most people will surprise you after they get over their initial shock, but don’t let it get you down if not!

“Hiking 100 miles is a huge accomplishment. I don’t want you to start hiking, call it quits after a week, and feel like you failed. 100 miles is still a big deal.” – My husband

“It will all be forgiven if you come home safe.” – My dad after I told him I was sorry for worrying him

“Should I go with you? If I hike to Neel Gap, I will brag about it for the rest of my life.” – My mom

“Where are you going to live?” and “You don’t know until you try!!” – My best friend

“Have you read Wild?” – Pretty much everyone, to which I bashfully reply that I got this crazy idea from Wild in the first place

Thanks for reading! I’ll check back in soon!

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Comments 10

  • Annie : Feb 23rd

    Such a unique experience!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it

    • Gabrielle : Feb 25th

      Thanks Annie! Trust me, you will be getting more updates than you know what to do with!

  • Mom : Feb 24th

    I’m still worried about you but so proud of your determination! Love you so much! ?

    • Gabrielle : Feb 25th

      Thanks mom! I apologize in advance for any worry lines….

  • Army Ant. (AT 2013) : Feb 25th

    I envy you this time in your life.

    As long as you have the desire, the trail will provide.

    You will know what I mean in a few months.

    Shout out when you get to Massachusetts. Trail magic will be provided.


    Army Ant.

    • Gabrielle : Feb 25th

      Thank you! I can’t wait to find out!

  • Vicki : Feb 29th

    My plan is 2021 I am 60 wish I could tag along this year I am with you some people have told me try a shorter distance first my goal is to leave April 2021 if I don’t chicken out

    • Gabrielle : Mar 1st

      If you’re going to try – why not go for it all?!

  • John Kapustka : Mar 6th

    Godspeed! I have a feeling you’ll do well. A heck of an adventure and a pilgrimage. Keep your husband’s advice in mind: anything can happen but even a 100 mile hike is quite an accomplishment. Go for it!

    • Gabrielle : Mar 8th

      Thanks John!


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