Why I am Thru-Hiking the Colorado Trail
I have always been the type of person who does whatever they say they will do. I am also someone who is attracted to absolutely crazy things. It only makes sense that the moment I learned what thru-hiking is, I decided that I was going to do it. Hiking is my outlet and a way to remind myself what is out there, and what I am capable of. In all my moments of self-doubt, hiking has gotten me out of it. But why would I do something as crazy as a thru-hike?
I’m making a choose-your-own-adventure out of life
I have never been a person to fit the mold of going to college, getting a career, getting married, having kids, and so on. There is nothing wrong with that, but it just isn’t how I see myself. When I was in college, I couldn’t even decide on a major because I didn’t want to get locked in, so much so that my degree ended up being a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (aka I couldn’t decide, so make it sound fancy). I chose to build this lifestyle because it gives me the freedom to do what I want.
If I could do anything right now, I would be doing this. To me, the sheer fact that I am even capable of doing this means that I should. I have the power to mold my life however I want to, and this is my way of doing just that. I am hiking because I can, why not?
It makes me feel strong
I struggle a lot with anxiety and depression. Every time I am in a bad mental state where all I can do is doubt myself, I know I need a hike. When I push myself to do it anyway, even if all I want to do is lay in bed curled in a ball, I feel like a layer of myself has been shed. Like all of that self-doubt truly meant nothing and the things I tell myself aren’t true. I am actually a whole lot stronger than I sometimes believe I am, and hiking reminds me of that. I can’t imagine how I will feel when I finish a thru-hike.
It makes me feel everything so strongly
When I am hiking, I feel more connected to myself and my body, the people I meet, the food I eat, and the environment that surrounds me and I feel more grounded. When I am home working my everyday life, things move so fast that I don’t feel like I am able to feel present. When I am outside, that all goes away. Depression can sometimes numb me from being able to process what I am experiencing at the moment, but I have always been able to push past this feeling on long hikes.
It feels like a necessary step
I just graduated college and to be honest, I didn’t feel like graduating mattered. I got my diploma in the mail and thought “There it is,” and then went on about my day. I don’t really plan on doing any certain thing with my degree. It just felt like I was jumping a hurdle that I have been working to jump over for way too long.
I spent countless nights in a mood that I usually describe as “poopy” (obviously very educated vocabulary) while doing my homework online and watching long recorded monotone lectures at 2x speed. I felt like I had no time off to do things that I wanted to do between work and school. I was always busy doing things that didn’t matter to me one bit. Everything felt like a waste of time. Doing a thru-hike, however, feels like a graduation of sorts. My graduation party was actually more of a Colorado Trail send-off party. Like I am starting a new step of growth in my life. I know the trail will change me in all the best ways. I am finally able to do what I want, and this is exactly what I want to do.
Because I am scared
I believe anything scary is worth doing. There are plenty of reasons to be scared of doing a thru-hike alone, but there are also plenty of reasons to do it anyway. I am scared of missing my boyfriend and family, but I am also excited to wake up in the sun-kissed mountains and feel a freedom that I have never felt before. I am not on this planet to keep myself from living fully because of fear. I am here to continuously push past it and do whatever the hell I want.
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