This April I will be attempting my first ever thru hike. My trail of choice: The Appalachian Trail. The “AT” is a 2,100 mile trail stretching from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Kahtadin, Maine. Each year thousands of people from all different walks of life attempt to complete this journey, with each individual having their own reason(s) to do so. I have never done any backpacking before and this is by far the most “out of my comfort zone” experience I will have ever embarked on in my 24 years of life.
As my start date gets near, I find myself thinking about why I’m doing this. Why am I leaving the comforts and luxuries of my current life to live in the woods carrying everything I need on my back for 6 months? Ive read that it’s important for you to have a “why” for you to remember on the days that you want to give up, whether it be from the mental exhaustion, or you’re sick of being wet, cold, hungry, and sore. For me, I have 3 “whys” that will make me keep fighting no matter what until I’m standing on the summit of Mt. Kahtadin.
- Set. Believe. Achieve. I have always heard the saying “you can do anything you set your mind to”, but I have never actually set my mind to something and done it. I have set my goal to complete my thru hike, now it’s time to believe in the process and do whatever it takes for me to achieve my goal. I want to feel the empowerment of knowing that nothing is impossible if you truly want it and for me, I believe walking from Georgia to Maine will instill that in me for the rest of my life.
- Trust. I have felt an overpowering energy to hike this trail for a couple of years now. It’s as if the AT is calling me and I need to go see what it has to say, all the way from beginning to end. When I have days that I want to quit, I know I need to have full trust in this process because its ultimately going to take me to where I need to be.
- Nothing is promised. This is probably what will keep me moving the most. I have dealt with hardships in the past, but until recently I haven’t felt the intense realization that life as you know it can change in a second. One moment you can have everything you could ever dreamed of and the next it can be all gone. I am blessed to be able to be setting out on this journey and I will not take one second for granted.