I’m Looking for a Dime
My decision to hike the A.T. last April had many uncertainties for me. The most miles I’d ever walked deliberately and consecutively, that I was aware of, was about four-and-a-half. I knew very little about setting up a tent (a tent I’d bought only days before leaving) and what exactly the purpose was of my pink Gerber knife. I had been told by the sales person to buy a pink knife, rather than any other color that didn’t scream I have no clue what I’m doing out here! because if I dropped my knife, how would I possibly find it in the dirt? So pink it was.
Serious Business with Spooky Things
While all these questions and worries were going through my mind, one thing was for damn sure – I would not be hiking in the woods for five to six months without music. My plan was to start on the Approach Trail on April 14, 2013. I would be hiking alone (or so I thought) and couldn’t help but feel convinced spooky people and critters were hiding behind every tree. Every single tree.
And so this called for serious business. I needed some pump-up, kick-ass, I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T music. I asked my friends for suggestions of tunes. One friend dubbed this my “Trail Mix.” Now sure, I like Iron and Wine just as much as the next wannabe hipster. Tegan and Sara, The Avett Brothers, songs of life and love and friendship, and harmony, and partying in the U.S.A are all great. But when my start date summoned, belting Hootie & the Blowfish “I only wanna be with youuuuu!” was not going to allow me to confidently look danger in the face – Or in this case, a lion or tiger or bear.
Being Badd with the Ying Yang Twins
The night before leaving, as I text my sister whining about how I needed (needed!) an intense melody to enter the woods with, she suggested a good ol’ classic song – Badd (also known as Badd Bitch) by the Ying Yang Twins ft. Mike Jones. I’d heard this song back in the day, but somehow it hadn’t yet made it to my Trail Mix playlist. Something about that song on that night clicked and I knew this is the tune I’d been wanting.
The next morning my mom, grandpa and cousin dropped me off at the Approach Trail and as I waved a teary goodbye with my trekking poles in the air (kind of similar to a white surrender flag), the first line of the song rang through my headphones “I’m lookin’ for a dime, that’s top of the line…”
I listened to Badd Bitch on loop almost the entire eight-ish miles on the Approach Trail. I still can’t really explain exactly why I loved it so much. It was not (and still isn’t) a song I took seriously at all, but maybe that’s why there was the appeal. When listening to it I felt extremely lighthearted about being in the woods alone. I know a ton of people start the A.T. alone and there really is nothing to be afraid of or nervous about, but for me it was completely out of my comfort zone. And while I was proud of myself for making the decision to do it in the first place, and beyond excited to finally be out there, I was completely terrified. That song helped put a confident pep in my step.
I’m still waiting for the day when Badd Bitch is played at a bar, or restaurant, or coffee shop, or anywhere for that matter, and I can show off my new skill of being able to sing every word. All the while merrily smiling and bopping my head along with the beat.
Little did I know I’d eventually not need the lyrics of any song to get me through the miles and my fears. I didn’t know when starting my hike that I would get lyme disease in VA (and then possibly again in NY); That I would get tendonitis; That my knees would feel as if they were cracking to pieces with every step; That on the second day within the first few steps of walking onto the A.T., I would roll my ankle.
That I would summit Katahdin with the guy I met on mile seven of the Approach Trail; That we would hike the A.T. together from there on out.
All I knew was the Ying Yang Twins singing Badd Bitch in my headphones made me laugh that first day. And that made me feel damn good.
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