Am I excited for the trail?
Am I nervous?
I guess sometimes those emotions feel the same. In two and a half weeks, I’ll be on the approach trail towards Springer Mountain to begin my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Or should I say, begin my attempt.
About 1 in 4 thru-hikers actually complete the entire 2,180 miles (though I recently read that that is a generous number… a lot of people skip parts of the trail and still call themselves “2,000 milers.”) I also read that’s a big no-no. Noted.
The truth is, I’m starting to feel all those butterflies. Except they really feel like a swarm of angry wasps. Fortunately, I’ve heard that it’s perfectly normal to feel unprepared. It’s just all happening so quickly, and there’s always that certain anticipation when you finally take action on something you’ve talked and thought about. It’s kind of like getting jitters before the wedding day. And in a way, I will be married to the trail; waking up with it, learning all of its quirks, sticking by it for better or for worse. ‘Til death do us part (kidding). Plus, 5 months is a long time to be committed… Kim K’s marriage only lasted 72 days, remember?
There’s so, so many amazing qualities about the trail. I know that I can’t yet even fathom the views I’ll see, the people I’ll meet, the things I’ll learn. But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, though I know there will be plenty of that. I’m getting cold feet about having cold feet (see what I did there? Ba-dum tsh). I mean literally, I’m going to be so cold at some points, especially at night. And all I can do is just make sure I have the right gear and mindset to make it the most bearable.
I’m going to see bears. I’m going to be out in the woods during lightning storms. I’m going to have to check for ticks and deal with blisters and dig a ‘toilet’ in the ground and hitch rides. Sorry, Mom. I’m going to be living that horrendous feeling that we’ve all had camping when it seems as if nothing you own is dry. But until those moments happen, I can only prepare so much. To be frank, that freaks me out. A lot. Despite the countless hours of research, the incredible people that have given advice, and a lot of my own trial and error, this will be a learn-as-I-go ordeal. I think that’s good for me, the girl that tries to plan and control everything.
I’m looking forward to the inevitable physical and mental changes. For every gloomy moment, I know there will be five more sunny ones. The reason I want to share this is because all I’ve posted so far is how eager and ready I am. And although that’s the truth, I also want to be honest and be real about my nerves. I’ll continue to take that upfront approach through all of my posts: the good, the bad, the ugly. If it’s not of lesson to you, it will at least be entertaining.
Happy reading and happy hiking, my friends!