Dig into Your Toolbox for a Successful Thru-Hike

I’m not talking about hammers, saws, or screwdrivers. I’m referring to the toolbox we all have access to within our minds. Throughout your hike you’re going to have some mental breakdowns but luckily you have your handy dandy toolbox to help put you back on track.

Meditation, Reflection Time

Give yourself a specific time and space to reflect and meditate. Learning to take time to process your gratitude and the beauty around you can help get you through tough times.

Visualize Goals

There are plenty of mornings that getting out of the tent may seem miserable. Like when you have to put on wet or frozen socks and go back into the rain. During those times, visualize a goal that will help you take that first step of the morning. Is there a nearby town where you could buy a rainy-day beer? Or perhaps imagine a moment when you see a trail angel and they have delicious goodies to share. It can be whatever motivates you. 


This is easier said than done. During the mentally tough days try putting a positive spin on a negative thought. Turn “I’m never going to get out of California” into “Look how far I’ve come.” You can also be specific in thinking of the positives that come out of certain situations. “Ugh, another stream crossing” can become “I can carry less water and now my bag is so much lighter. Woo-hoo!”

Honest Communication

Hiking with a partner can be helpful, but there are times that it can cause frustration. During a difficult day it’s easy to want to place blame on those around you. Instead, figure out the root cause of the frustration rather than finger-pointing. Be honest with others as well as yourself. Don’t assume your partner knows what you’re thinking or what you need.

Playful Imagination

Hiking lets you enter a life of almost complete freedom, a land where anxieties stop. Stay focused, but don’t treat it like a job. Don’t get up and dread the monotony of walking every day. Wake up and picture the fun and suspense of what the day will bring.

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Comments 3

  • Susan : Feb 14th

    What I think is that you are awesome. Also, that I would not last long on any venture that involved frozen socks. Also, I thought the whole purpose of having a partner was to always have someone to blame? I am going to have to re-think my marriage.

    • April : Feb 14th

      ? you are the best!

  • Nikki : Mar 28th

    Looking forward to following you 2 on the trail! Knowing you have others rooting for you can lift your spirits. You go guys!!


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