I Like To Hike! (I like to hike) I Like to Hike!

I mentioned the Appalachian Trail on one of my posts the other day, and it led to me and Bud seriously discussing the possibility of hiking it one day. He said, “Well, if you’re going to do it, you need to do it SOONER, rather than later.” So… I’ve made the decision to do it. Spring of 2016..if life as we know it doesn’t end before then.

For those of you who don’t know, The Appalachian Trail is 2,180 miles. The trail goes through 14 states from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine. I intend to do a ‘thru-hike’ which means hiking the whole thing continuously. It takes 5-6 months to complete and only 1 in 4 ‘thru-hikers’ finish the trail. From what I’ve read, the majority of people on the trail are either just out of college or (surprisingly) retirees! I’ve read of countless ‘older people’ who have completed the trail, and many kids have completed it too…so I think I can do it. I just recently hit the milestone birthday of 50 years old…but I just don’t feel like it.

I know many of you are probably thinking I’ve gone crazy. I assure you, I haven’t.

How did I become interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail? I stumbled upon a book called, “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed which was about a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. I was struck, mostly, by how this woman had no real experience hiking and I couldn’t stop thinking of what it would be like to live with just a backpack in the woods for so long. After that, I stumbled upon a book called, “Becoming Odyssa,” by Jennifer Pharr Davis, who holds the current record for the fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. She, too, was an inexperienced hiker, though a little more prepared. What struck me in this book (and many others I read after this one) was the personal growth that took place while on the trail, and how the hikers were changed for the better after having done it. Thus began my dream of hiking it one day.

Why do I want hike the Appalachian Trail? I’m not under any illusions that it will be a ‘walk in the park.’  I know it will be difficult, painful, scary,  uncomfortable, and lonely at times. I want the challenge. I feel like I will regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t attempt it. I feel like it’s something I was meant to do.

Bud is not interested in doing it with me. He has bad knees, and is not into bodily torture for the fun of it. I’m really not afraid of not being able to handle it physically. I’m a pretty tough old bird. Bud teases me about the stock I come from and how we push ourselves to the limit. I have some physical challenges which I might address in the future, but I don’t think they’ll keep me from doing this.

In many ways, I’ve been sheltered for most of my life. I’m a happy follower. It’s much easier to follow than to make my own decisions.  I’m really ready to face the challenge of researching, planning this thing, making my own decisions, choosing my own gear, deciding how to deal with problems along the way, sleeping in the woods, and just facing a lot of my fears, in general.

So…Spring…2016. I’m really going to do it! It’s all I’ve been thinking about, lately. I’m going to seriously start researching and buying my gear. I’ve ordered several books, including one on how to plan for the hike. I’ve been pouring over websites about it. I walked up two arduous hills today without rest. There are plenty of trails around here to ‘practice’ on, though I’ve read that you don’t really get your ‘trail legs’ until you’ve actually been on the trail for weeks walking every day.

So…Um….Does anyone have any questions?

 

 

10 thoughts on “I Like To Hike! (I like to hike) I Like to Hike!

  1. Go light an go slow, at least at first. That is the advice I’m getting. We’ll see. I’m working on physical mediocrity right now. Fitness may not be possible. Looking toward 2017 or 2018. Good luck on yours.

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate any and all advice I can get. I’ve been reading about the challenges and compromises of making your pack as light as possible. Seems like a daunting task, not to mention planning mail drops and everything else. I’ve read of one person on the trail that noticed that people with the heavier packs and hiking boots made less miles each day, had more blisters, and more pain and physical problems. I’m thinking of going with running shoes, though the jury is still out and I haven’t committed, yet, to hiking boots or running shoes.

      I’ve read that the hike, though physically demanding, is more challenging mentally and emotionally. I’ve been amazed at the ages and types of people who have completed it…from young children to one person who was 94 when they completed it. I also read of one blind man that did it with his guide dog!

      I’m not sure what your physical problems are, but YOU CAN DO IT! They say that no one is fully prepared when they start out. I’ve also read about those who were woefully unprepared in all areas and still finished. So…I hope you won’t wait and wait and wait until you think you are prepared and never do it. I don’t want to allow myself to do that, either, because I know I’ll kick myself greatly regret it if I never do it.

      Best wishes for your 2017 or 2018 hike! Thank you so much for you comment! What a nice surprise to have another future hiker stop by!

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    1. Hi G. I thank you for your advice. It’s something I’ve really been thinking about….and praying about, too. Part of the challenge for me will be making decisions. Most often, I acquiesce to another person’s wishes, just to save the peace…or more often, because it’s easier to ‘coast’ instead of taking charge of myself. Though I’m not afraid to do things alone, when the going gets tough, I’d rather have the other person forge it for me. That’s a challenge I want to face. From what I gave read, the trail is FULL of hikers, and I don’t make friends easily. I’m hoping to work on that. From what I’ve read, friends come and go. There is also the fact of ‘pace’. What if I want to go faster than the other person? Or push further in one day than the other person? There is nothing that drags me down more than having to slow down for someone else…completes zaps my drive, motivation and physical and mental momentum. Nor do I want to be a drag on someone else, or use them as my crutch.

      Also, I honestly think I’ll be afraid to hike alone, at first, and I actually want to work through that. Does that make sense? Regardless, I hope you know me well enough to know that I want the Lord’s will in everything, and if he just happens to bring someone along that I’m supposed to hike with, then I’m open to it…and I want this hike to accomplish in me what HE wants to accomplish (and I DO think this is part of why I’m hiking.) I know I will have many people praying for me as I go, so I know the Lord will take care of me….and if I fall off a cliff, I’m sure there is a purpose for it. I’ve been looking over trail journals for 2016, to see if there is a like-minded lady who might be looking for a hiking partner…so I’m open, and praying.

      I’ve never loaned anyone a Kindle book before, but if you’d like to borrow the book I mentioned above by Jennifer Pharr Davis, you can get a sense of what the trail is like, and how many people are on the trail, and how friendships come and go on the trail. You’ll have to instruct me on how to do it, though. I’m in the middle of re-reading it, but after that, I’ll be happy to let you loan it…if you’re even interested.

      Thank you for your comment, G. It means so much to me that you are FOR me and excited with me. I’m so excited I can hardly think of anything else right now. I haven’t been this motivated or excited in a really long time.

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  2. As for the alone thing…this is the AT…you are rarely alone! You will meet people the first day, and will continue to leap frog with them as long as you are on the trail! As for gear, try it out, go back packing with it, camp in the rain with it, set it up it the rain, etc. There is a lot of good info out there, find out what works for you. 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the advice! I’ll do it. Right now, I’m overwhelmed with ALL OF THE CHOICES! Trying to research everything now, but eager to start getting my gear so I can break it in. Can’t wait until next Spring!

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  3. I’ve read about this trail and honestly, would love to do it someday. It’s the intimidation factor that stops me in my tracks! LOL. 🙂 You go girl. 🙂

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    1. Keep the dream alive! I think just doing a section of it would be worth it. 🙂 Just make sure someone else starts earlier than you do each day. I have heard that the first person on the trail in the morning is the person who breaks down all of the spider webs spun overnight. 😛

      I hope you are having a good summer, my dear friend.

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