Why Am I Hiking The Trail?

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At the advice of a Mr. Zach Davis, author of Appalachian Trials, I have created my own version of lists to motivate me as to my reasoning behind this hike. The idea is that whenever I hit a rough patch on the trail, or when I want to go home and give up, this should be my motivator to stay on track, reminding me WHY I’m hiking. If nothing else, it will remind me how much I would be disappointed in myself if I wasn’t able to finish (didn’t your parent’s ever tell you how disappointed they were in you after you got in trouble? Doesn’t that hurt worse than any spanking?). So without further ado and in no particular order, I give you my reasons:

 

I am Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

  • I’m out of college but haven’t yet begun a career. I have no major commitments at this point in my life and won’t be at a stage like this again until I retire from my chosen career path.  I don’t want to put living off until I’m 3/4 done with my life.
  • Because I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and the injury from this broken back, I am afraid that I won’t be able  to do the things I can do now when I’m older
  • I’ve been enamored with the trail since I first learned about it at Summer Camp and have been jealous every time I’ve met a thru-hiker veteran. I want to be a part of the AT Community and not let life (and hikers) pass me by.
  • Rather than filling out countless job applications for post-college employment, I want to take a little while to breath and hopefully learn which direction I should be heading towards
  • I had a close call with my accident and I was very lucky that it wasn’t more serious. I never want to let go of my active, adventurous lifestyle and I want to share that kind of lifestyle with others. Old people or young, in shape or in shapes, sick or healthy, handicapped or not -it doesn’t matter….I hope that whatever funny, terrible, painful, exciting, boring, sweaty, smelly, soaked, dirty, greasy, hungry, aching, blilstered, hot, cold, and exhausting adventures I have will give people a good laugh, maybe teach them something or help them prepare for their own adventure, and inspire people to step just beyond the boundary of their comfort zone.
  • Mom told me I needed to walk my dog more.

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • Have so many hilarious stories and new friends that I met along the way.
  • Always pay it forward and do my part for Trail Magic
  • Gain a better understanding of who I am and how I plan to tackle life post-school
  • Hopefully have a revolutionary ‘lightbulb’ moment that will in turn fund future adventures like this one. Perhaps turn to writing or blogging to teach others, inspire and share stories.
  • Be able to handle whatever life throws at me. If I can survive bears, wild cats, raccoons, ticks, venomous snakes and MEN out in the woods while carrying all my belonings on my back like a turtle, I can certainly deal with trivial modern day obstacles.
  • Get another tattoo marking the latest major milestone of my life (sorry in advance Mom)

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • Probably delete my facebook and never do anything worth mentioning
  • Basically have signed my life away to working a meaningless job with no recognition or future, rather than bringing out my bubbly personality and inspiring others.
  • Consider myself a tourist in my own country, not someone who has a deep understanding, love and appreciation for the land.
  • Have to answer to all of the ‘I told you so!”s from my friends and family who thought I was a nutcase from the beginning.
  • Try again the following year
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