It Could Always Suck More
Somewhat of a blunt or crude statement, but its what I live my life by. I always look for the positive in any situation, because it COULD always suck more. We all have our reason we wanted to hike, mine is a long story.
Why I chose to hike.
It wasn’t until a family road trip out west, touring the many national parks along our route, where I fell in love with hiking in the backcountry. Coming from Florida, I had never seen views of mountainous vistas like those in the Yosemite valley, the Grand Canyon, and Sedona. Never seen the trees that large from hundreds of years of growth in the Muir Woods, or in Sequoia NP. It was out there I discovered my immense appreciation for the outdoors.
I dreamed of hiking the Florida Trail, even making a PowerPoint to convince my parents to fund the hike. I was promptly shut down, mostly due to my unpreparedness. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I found myself dealing with debilitating depression in my college dorm, that I became obsessed with the Appalachian Trail. I was in the midst of drowning my problems in YouTube videos of people finding themselves along the trail.
One documentary in particular stood out. I sent it to a close friend, and from then on we were both dead set on finishing the AT. Once again I found myself trying to convince my parents that a hike like that would solve all my problems, if only I could take the time off school. Yet again, I was shut down. After a rough semester I had dropped college completely and began working full time, only to dream the day would come.
Finally, last year, after seeing that same friend start his journey on the trail, I became immensely envious. I wanted to be there with him so bad. Working full time I relied on his instagram to give me the little fix of the trail I needed, only imagining myself out there one day. I made it my goal this past year to save my money and prepare myself in every way, so I could finally start my own journey.
Today, you can find me in Maine. Enduring my first true Nor Easter, writing this. I work full time in a bakery making breads and pastries. I love what I’ve done for myself and my family in the last year, my incredibly supportive girlfriend Taylor, and our 2 dogs, Moose and Beans, moved from Florida to Maine this past summer to pursue better opportunities. Living only an hour from the White Mountains I began hiking as much as I could, and really dialing in my gear for my hike.
I am currently 26 days away from my start on February 24, I notice myself developing these nervous ticks. Constantly checking my phone, reading every Facebook post about the trail I can find, constantly comparing myself to other hikers also in their final stages of planning. It is getting nauseating. I cannot help but feel unprepared, yet so over prepared at the same time. I am ready to leave my job, my dogs, my girlfriend, yet I wish I had more time with them all. Though the days are shorter in the winter, they feel so long nowadays. Each is spent thinking, dreaming, imagining of the complexity of this hike. I can only take things day by day.
In the days leading up to my start, I have a small warm up hike on the Florida Trail, for 3 nights. And just before my start, my best friends are sending me off in Helen, GA for a few nights, then driving me to Amicalola Falls. I cherish the days I have at home while they last, soaking in the last of those homey comforts. I will miss everything about this cold, bitter winter I’ve had in Maine.
Cheers, to the future.
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