Why We Thru Hike
As thru hikers, we spend our days walking, most of us from sunrise to sunset. Some of us night hike for a few miles in the morning, others in the evening before setting up their tents while still some hikers never set alarms, allowing the day to awaken them and then have their camp set up before the sun sets. There’s a method to the madness. But out here, a lot of hikers (I’m guilty as well) spend all day complaining about a multitude of various things.
The sun is too hot.
The wind is too strong.
The nights are too cold.
This hill is too steep up.
This hill is too steep down.
The grade is hurting my knees.
Water is too damn heavy.
My food bag is massive.
My tent is wet from sleeping in a cloud and there’s nowhere to let it dry.
The list goes on and on but the thing to know is that none of us would rather be anywhere else.
So then why do we complain so often & about so many things? Ha, it’s a way of bonding out here. We are all going through the exact same things so when we vocalize that pain we can all come together and end up laughing about how ridiculously hot the sun is or how windy it was the night before or how much it sucks to hike out of a town, and inevitably back up a mountain, with a full resupply of food and so many liters of water!
I woke up in a cloud of rain & mist the other morning and proceeded to lay in my sleeping bag for over an hour because it was colder than the average morning and I just didn’t want to hike out alone without having the visibility I’m used to. As soon as I heard Flashdance next to me start moving I unzipped my tent & we shared a couple expletives about the temperature and as we were talking, everyone else slowly rolled out of their tents and shared the same sentiments as well. It was hella cold and we were all miserable but it was a happy miserable; even with the temperature and the wind, none of us would have traded where we were for anything.
Even when it feels like it’s 100 degrees and we’re all drenched in sweat and can feel it dropping down our backs and arms and faces and necks, if we can commiserate with fellow hikers, it lessens the burden of that thing that seems to be weighing so heavily on our shoulders. The knowledge of other people feeling as horrible as you do helps boost the morale of the trail.
While everyone else is sitting behind a desk in their cubicles at the office, I’m sweating buckets during the day and freezing my ass of at night hoping my tent doesn’t bend and rip in the wind. I do it for the views, for the friendships, for the uncontrollable laughter at the end of a long day. I do it for the experiences that I can’t find anywhere else and for the strangers that turn to lifelong friends in the matter of a few hours.
As thru hikers we may complain a lot but we wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world. We fight through the heat and the cold and the aches and the pains for these amazing moments:
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