There Is a Season and a Time to Every Purpose

I wasn’t positive I was even going to write this. I couldn’t figure out the appropriate tone to take. It seems so trivial and narcissistic to assume that anyone cares about me not going on a hike. What people are suffering through dwarfs the petty inconvenience of a hike postponed for a year.

My start date was going to be April 29. Three weeks ago, I thought I’d delay the decision of canceling. I believed I had the luxury of doing so as it was so far in the future. What I found was that delaying the decision made the situation even worse. I had trouble sleeping and constantly agonized over not just the problems of everyday life but the additional torment of a thru-hike hanging in the wind.

Ultimately, calling the hike eased my mind and put the focus back on what it should be on … safety, family, friends, helping neighbors, community.

I want to thank the various trail associations (particularly the PCTA), Zach Davis, Juliana Chauncey, Maggie Slepian, my fellow 2020 Trek bloggers, and commenters here on The Trek. Their advice, shared experience, understanding and guidance helped me navigate probably the weirdest and scariest month of my, and most other people’s, lives.

There is no blueprint for how each of us have had to react and cope with not just canceling our hikes but adjusting to a new normal in society. Hoarding, social distancing, quarantine, pandemic … these are not things that we ever could have imagined worrying about.

To everything
There is a season
And a time to every purpose …

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn …

I’m not religious, but the lyrics seem fitting.

There will be a time when we are more carefree and a walk in the woods is our only focus. I look forward to that time. But that time is not now.  Perhaps what we have collectively gone through will give us an even greater appreciation of each other and the privilege that we have to be able to take off five months and pursue a dream.

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