Wonder and the Whys: An Introductory Post
It’s amazing how simple everyday life seems when it is lived inside four walls with windows and a roof. When you roll out of bed, you kind of just assume the coffee pot will brew, the dishwasher will wash and the fridge will preserve. What happens when you replace those walls with a tent, your bed with a sleeping pad and the shower with…well…nothing? These are questions I seek to answer beginning June of this year when I embark on a flip-flop thru-hike of the AT.
When you were a kid, what were your dreams like? Not the sleeping kind. The daylight kind. The subjects that would possess your mind and move you to write your own skit or call up your hero. When I was a kid, I moved through quite a long list of loves: sailboats, horses, bagpipes, The Yankees, Ernest Shackleton, Anne of Green Gables and the list goes on. Some of those interests faded with time and age. Others just intensified. I remember when I first read an account of the Endurance, an epic tale of survival and courage. I was captivated. I moved onto tales of adventurers climbing Everest, sailing around the world and eventually hiking the PCT, AT, biking the Continental Divide, and running across America. I read voraciously, sometimes in the back of a particularly mind-numbing college class. I was compelled to learn more and dream more. I finally put my finger on it: these adventures put on display the sheer determination of the human mind and body. Not only that, they give off a glimmer of something great, something almost unimaginable, something so enriching and captivating that I would much rather rearrange my adventure books than read them, knowing they would have to come to an end. What made these experiences so vivid to me? It was wonder. I cannot know where and when we all discover it. For me, it was on the bowsprit of a schooner off Mount Desert Island in Maine. It was in a lake of rain water at the foot of Ben Nevis in Fort William, Scotland. It was on a small overlook near North Adams, MA, on the AT. Once you recognize it, it takes you captive. It compels you to keep on. To learn more. To listen better. To breathe deeper. To pray more. To climb higher.
Out of those childhood dreams came this one: to thru-hike the AT. Zach reminds us to continue poring over our reasons for thru-hiking once we identify them. In the end, they are often what drive us to keep putting one foot in front of the other. So, here are a few of mine:
fulfill a lifelong dream
take the opportunity to do something I truly love for six months
do it now while my knees are still working
gain courage, perseverance and strong hiker legs
discover direction for my life
grow closer to God and love others better
learn to be patient, flexible, and less afraid of new things (except ticks)
There are an overwhelming amount of details to work through in preparation for this hike: gear, mileage, clothing, bears, mail drops, you name it…..and don’t even get me started on food!
The purpose of this blog is to provide you with a glimpse into my preparation process and eventually the journey itself: stories, advice, musings, and hopefully scores of pictures.
Please join me on my thru-hike of the AT 2016.
Cheers and happy trails!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.