Nerves Like Grass on Miracle Grow
As the days dwindle towards departure, my nerves grow like grass on Miracle Grow. This is by far the loftiest pursuit of my life. I feel ready, but I also understand that I’m not. No hike is the same, but it’s an opportunity to write my own narrative. There’s no knowing what I’m in for, but I want this to serve as a reference point to reflect upon later. This one is mostly for me, but I hope you also find it interesting. With that being said, here’s where my mind currently resides…
Leaning on Experience
First, a massive thanks to the thru-hikers that have been answering my questions and imparting awesome advice. Shoutout to Stef, Emily, Young Rich, and Ian. Without your help, I’m not sure I’d be as confident in my preparation. The Internet is great, but the value of these conversations exceeds anything I could dig up on the ol’ Google. Here’s my best attempt at stringing their words together without writing an essay:
A thru-hike is a brilliant, yet bittersweet experience all wrapped into one. The narrative is one that directly reflects your approach. Regardless of the type of day you’re having, always maintain focus on the goal and enjoy each day for what is. The highs and lows of this journey are what create the magic in the end. Take all the photos, soak in the views, and cherish the people. In retrospect, it’ll likely be a high point in the timeline of your life. So relax, learn, grow, and always pee before you get in your tent for the night.
Deep Rooted Curiosity
I’ll be honest, the butterflies intensify with each day. The manifestation of a ten-year dream is turning reality within a handful of moons. The PCT was seemingly impossible upon discovery and the journey to this point is one I would’ve never foreseen. It’s surreal and the unknowns of this mission fuel nerves that I’ve never felt. The way I see it, these feelings exemplify how much this means to me. In a way, it’s reassuring to feel this way right now.
I often ask myself questions in regard to how the PCT will impact my life. Who will I be upon returning from this experience? Will I change at all? Do I care about the same things? Is it possible that I prioritize aspects of my life differently? What new motives enter the frame? Which ones will exit? Will my goals and aspirations take alternative directions? Will I approach interactions and relationships differently? The list continues, but I’m eager to see how these questions answer themselves in time.
A Note to Myself
Mate, you’re on the doorstep of living a dream. Taking a risk and sending it on a mission that scares you as much as it excites you. Embrace every emotion for what it is. Ask yourself the hard questions and strive for growth within the place that promotes it most. Make it an hourly goal to be present in every interaction, viewpoint, and trail town. Be grateful for the support and appreciative of the kindness within the trail community. Take all the photos and document this experience your way.
Live with authenticity, radiate positivity, and be impactful in the strongest ways. When discomfort sets in, dig deeper within yourself than ever before. Never forget why you chose to make this a part of your life. This is an opportunity that may very well come around once. As the trail begins to feel like reality, hold on to the perspective that’ll divert you from falling into that mindset. Lastly, smile and think about how you’ll utilize the lessons of the PCT to help yourself and those around you. Chances are you’re having a rough time and referring back to this to help lift the spirits. Chin up, learn, and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
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