The plans are set, the pack is stuffed and your shoes have been worn in just enough. As you start in on the hike and you have countless hours to think about how many more miles you need to go, it gets overwhelming and the enormity of it can almost make you stop in your tracks. Occasionally to the dismay of my hiking partners, this is how I’ve dealt with making a huge goal seem approachable.
We’ve become animals and have moved into a bear den with the still semi-hibernating beasts. It’s been a week, and we’re starting to smell like one of them. But really, it’s been two weeks so we’re still new to the thru, but at least have a bit under our belt. We’ve made it as far as what looks like one inch on the map of the whole trail, so that’s comforting. Here are the first week of thoughts:
You see people’s true colors when they realize you’re doing something that they believe is a horrible mistake. You get the caring, harmless worriers saying, “can I put a tracker in your arm?” or “don’t get eaten by a bear.” You get the people who don’t get why you’re doing it: “I can’t understand why you’d do this to yourself” or “the PCT is cooler.” Then, there’s my least favorite: “don’t go because what if you fail.”
Everyone has said something when they find out I’m doing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Some are excited for me, nervous for me or happy that I’m stoked for this adventure. Many have tried to stop me from going. So, clearly, amidst all these naysayers, I’ve decided to use up all my teenage rebellion that I didn’t use in the first place. I’ll go on the trail despite those who’ve tried to convince me otherwise—I’ll finish or I won’t. Regardless of the end-game, it’ll be a wild ride that I can’t yet fathom. If you’re on board with my adventure, take a look at the details, packing list and all the planning I’ve done that is sure to go out the window as soon as I set foot on the trail.
The Dirty Deets:
As much as you think physically training for hikes is important, it’s not. Your most valuable asset is your mind. Fine tune that like it’s your job. So, to help you better prepare for your own trip, here are a few things to note if you want to be mentally prepared for a sweet adventure.
You Need a Killer Playlist
You think you have enough music to keep you jamming for miles after miles? You’re probably wrong. The playlist will repeat itself, and you will be stuck skipping every song since you’ve long grown tired of them. Pull together absolutely everything for this playlist. Those songs you only have as novelties, the songs you love to hate (eh hem, let’s be honest, Justin Bieber’s whole new-ish album) and the oldies you can’t help but sway with. Pro tip: don’t fear singing along because that is definitely what will keep you awake at the wheel on hour 12.