The Hidden Support of a Solo Thru-Hike
It is less than one week until I start my SOBO thru-hike attempt of the AT. Although I am filled with excitement, I am also incredibly nervous. But I am not nervous about what you may be thinking of. I am not nervous about sleeping outside, bears, snakes, or samsquanches (yes I know it is sasquatches.. this is a reference to a fantastic TV show). The AT makes me nervous because of failure. Over the last 10 years, I have dreamed of having the opportunity to hike this trail. My finances, gear, and headspace are all in order. Even still, I am left fearful.
There are many things about a thru-hike that are in your control. Preparedness, physical fitness, and planning are just a few. In contrast, there are just as many things that are out of your control. Injury, sickness, misfortune, weather, and many more. I am hoping that I can overcome any challenge that comes my way. To do this, I require support from others.
Support? You mean you aren’t hiking solo!
Let me back up a few months to where I told my friends and family that I was taking off on this adventure. This is where the support began. Each time I approached an important person in my life to have this conversation it went the same way. It began with me nervously sweating, my heart would beat out of my chest, and time would slow down to a near halt. I had convinced myself that whoever I told would think that I was a failure, selfish, and unsuccessful because I was leaving a great job to be a homeless hiker. This was never the case. Instead, all that came from the conversations was love, understanding, and best of all, support.
This is important because not enough people talk about the hidden support that is required for a thru-hike. I would not be where I am today without the support of the people around me. I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by people who believe in me. When times get tough these are the people I will think of, thus they continue to support me even when I am on the trail.
Final thoughts before I embark…
First, if you are reading this and are one of those people who has supported and believed in me, I can’t thank you enough. I doubted myself for years that I would ever have the courage to follow through with this dream and it is because of you that I stuck with it. Second, I recognize that my chance of success is low, but I would rather try something difficult and fail than succeed at something easy. If I ever think about quitting I ask that you encourage me to stay on trail and complete my goal. Lastly, if you are reading this and doubt that I can do it… I intend to prove you wrong.
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