Gratitude and Goals

 

   Some people dream of houses, cars, and a life of extravagance. I am not one of them. I dream of living in a place with no plumbing, where the only running water comes from a stream. I want to awake from the whistle of a bird as sunlight basks it’s glory upon my cuben fiber rooftop. The only neighbors I want are people who want to live the way I do, those who thrive on minimalism.  I want a life of simplicity.

I am blessed. Over the course of 2015-16′ I hiked the entire Appalachian trail. I’ve lived the life that I dream of and it’s made me a better person. Learning to consume less and to live in the moment enables me to eliminate the discontent in my life. Walking all day, everyday clears my mind and helps me find peace within myself. I think of it as a moving meditation, a focus on breath and footsteps. I thought about that a lot after completing the Appalachian trail. I’ve thought about it so much that everything I own can now fit in a backpack.

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This Year and ONF

For those of you that aren’t aware, I’m hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year. I start it in mid April. If you are new to the hiking world, the PCT is 2650 miles long and spans from Mexico to Canada. It’s 461 miles longer than the A.T. and traverses through California, Oregon, and Washington. When I complete this trail I’ll have walked through 17 states in my lifetime. By 2019, I’ll have walked through 22. It’s now my life goal to Triple Crown. That’s completing all three major long distance trails in the country and 7940 miles of hiking. It will push me beyond my limits, but I’m hiking for more than just me. I’m raising money for The Optic Neuritis Foundation . We raised over $500 dollars for them on the last half of the Appalachian trail and I expect we’ll raise even more on the PCT. I want to thank everyone that contributed. It went a long way and they were extremely thankful, as was I. Look for the fundraiser around the middle of April or contribute to them directly now at onfinc.org.

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Gratitude

It was 10 am and I was climbing the Wildcats in NH when my trekking pole snapped in half. I had been nursing a bum knee and a torn labrum in my shoulder for quite some time and losing my pole was a bad omen. I ignored the setback and pushed on. Moments later, my other carbon fiber pole split up the middle. Stowing the pole, I continued my staggered hobble up the mountain and struggled to keep a positive attitude. Shortly thereafter an ocular migraine set in. I lost almost all the vision in my left eye and my head throbbed. Everything hit me at once. The failed equipment, pain, and frustration caused me to make a rash decision. I was quitting. There was just no more hike left in me. After waiting for my vision to return, I turned around and hiked back down the mountain. While waiting for a shuttle at Pinkham Notch, I announced to the world (via FB) that I had thrown in the towel. My body could take no more. My phone started buzzing uncontrollably. The first message was from Zach Davis telling me to reconsider, to wait till tomorrow to make my decision. This was followed by an outpouring of support and encouragement from the Appalachian Trials Turbo Troop, Family, and Friends. Without this support and encouragement, I never would have finished my hike.  I decided to take 3 days off and to reconsider. The time off served me well. While I was still banged up, that brief rest enabled me to recharge mentally. By the time I hit Maine, I was once again at peace with my mission and back to my happy go lucky self. Thank you to everyone that was there for me that day.

I have friends and family that live up and down the east cost and  I was able to visit many of them along the AT. My friends Swayze and Starstuff  in NY, my Uncle Don in CT, my buddy Chris in NY, and the Dubeys in MA all went out of their way to take me into their homes and let me re energize. My parents and my friend Brandon handled mailing my drop boxes along the way. I couldn’t have eaten without them. I also had some surprise boxes sent by Karla and my cousin June. They were fancy boxes! Then there were the countless trail angels along the way. Some fed me, housed me, gave me rides, and let me do laundry. I even had a store clerk walk up to me and tell me that a lady told him to hand me an envelope. I opened the envelope and it contained a $50 Visa gift card. I asked the clerk where the woman was and he said she had left 10 minutes prior to him handing me the card. To this day I have no clue who she was. People are simply amazing. Someday, I will be in a position to give back to the trail community and I will pass along the good fortune these people have passed on to me. I also plan on donating time in the future to trail maintenance. There are people all over this country who volunteer their time to make sure that we have places to hike. There would be no long distance trails without them. I was also fortunate to have companies that helped me out with support for the AT hike. Companies such as Altra, Raw Revolution, Four Sigmatic, Euroschirm, Simple Squares, and Big Tree Farms all helped me reach my goal of getting to Katahdin.

Thank you everyone. I was able to walk 2189 miles because of you. Now I’m going to walk 2650 more.

 

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Comments 4

  • Avatar
    Michael Sweet : Feb 28th

    YEOW! You have stones, brother. Best wishes on your walk. I’ll watch for your fundraiser information.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Adam Ryan : Feb 28th

      Thanks! I’m excited to get walking again!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Kari : Mar 1st

    You are truly an inspiration! I will watch for your fundraiser information as well!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Barry Hudson : Mar 1st

    That was an inspiring read, Adam. You da man! On 4/23 I begin my flip flop AT thru hike NOBO from Harper’s Ferry. There are answers that I don’t even know the questions to yet. Hopefully, I’ll re-gain my faith in humanity during my journey. I totally get the walking meditation aspect of it. May sunshine flood your path on your PCT journey. I hope to do it next year.

    Reply

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