My Why

Always Remember Your Why

There’s a phrase floating around out there Always remember your why. This is an important mantra applicable to many challenging endeavors, but especially so to a thru-hike.

As a thru-hiker you’ll often be asked why you’re doing it. My short answer is: because I want to. Duh! But really there’s several reasons.

I find nature to be healing for mind and soul, if not so much for the body. Being able to free oneself from the constraints of modern life even for a short time feels incredible. Knowing your only obligation is to get in some miles, make camp, eat, sleep, repeat is pretty liberating.

I also find communing with nature is spiritual for me. We should be connected with the natural world more. I consider sightings of critters a gift. Have you ever seen a gray fox? Or locked eyes with a bobcat or coyote? I have and those experiences were beautiful. It’s about more than logging miles, it’s about stillness, it’s about connection, it’s about experiences so few get to have.

One morning in 2019 on the JMT, as I was making my way toward a very snowy Muir Pass on the North side, skirting Wanda Lake, I found myself all alone. The wind which had been blowing all morning, suddenly ceased and in this bowl surrounded by mountains I experienced the most beautiful and intense silence of my life. There were no birds, no wind, no movement from the water on the lake, just complete and utter silence and stillness. In that moment I didn’t care about making good time and rushing over that pass. I took it in. I truly experienced it like the gift it was. It was beautiful. Heavenly, even.

Experiences like that are why I choose to walk 2600 miles. And of course the people you meet along the way. Trail families are a treasure and I can’t wait to meet my PCT fam. So, Always remember your why. And if you see me on trail on a rough day, please remind me to remember my why, and my own words.

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