to break an eleven year addiction that has put me in disgusting physical shape.
to break an eleven year addiction that has put me in disgusting physical shape.
I've got a bone to pick with Wildcat A. I am going to hike northbound and round up a posse and teach that mountain a lesson. Then I might as well keep going into Maine. I have a bumper sticker on my car that says "I love Maine" so I am not going to pass up an opportunity to hike that state again.
i gotta get out of my cubicle....for a long time. to take a real break away from work and clear my head
ya i'm in the same boat. I'm graduating and have no idea what i want to do with my life. I'm also really not happy with where i'm at right now
AT - Georgia to Maine '09
PCT - Mexico to Canada '10
CDT - Canada to Mexico '11
Like many of you have already stated, hiking the AT is something that I've always wanted to do. This is the first time that I'll have an opportunity to take 6 months off devote that time to something that I want to do. I may not have many more opportunities like this, so I'm going to take it and run...err...I mean hike.
This is going to sound really pompus but will hopefully show the state of mind I'm in and why I want to hike. I am leaving from Springer in March and walking away from a $400,000.00 per year plus job. I am 42 and have worked my way up the corporate ladder and have never been so miserable. Not like depressed, but not happy. I hate the job and it has taken its toll on my family as well. So yeah, I guess I'm running, but I need to leave and come back. And when I come back I want to be a different person. Want to change careers etc.... I have been in the same line of work for 20 years and need a creative spark? Need to energy myself, get in shape and stop some bad habits. Why the trail?? Group up in the woods, all of my "1st times" were in the woods. I love the woods! I feel I have a small window to do this and don't want to put it off any longer. Thats it, I guess. Peace. Ted
I decided not to read what others had written until I wrote my reasons out so my apologies if this is a repeat. As I'm sure many of you have been doing, I've been thinking about this quite a bit. My desire started when my brother began his first attempt at a thru hike in 2004. He wanted me to join him and I desperately wanted to go. However, with kids in college and job commitments I decided that wasn't the time. Then in 2005 I got laid off and decided to take a couple of months to do a long motorcycle trip. I talked my bro into joining me. That completely changed my outlook on things. I realized I'm only doing this life thing ONCE! On that trip I decided that I was going to "retire" early for several years and do some of things I really wanted to do. In 2009 with the kids/college thing and the job/money things behind me it's the AT, in 2010 we begin a ride around the world on the motorcycles. So that all said I can summarize it into three things:
- The Mental Fitness (Challenge) - corporate life is just not challenging anymore. Whatever I set my mind to I succeed at and I'm just not interested in doing something anymore that adds so little value to "life". The AT is my personal challenge - to do something that it very tangible, that takes real work to achieve, that isn't a "guaranteed" thing like the boring corporate world has become.
- The Physical Fitness - I need to get in shape, I need to change how I approach life and fitness. I hate gyms! I want to do something I enjoy while getting fit and being outside, not being trapped in an office fits that bill!
- The Spiritual Fitness - I enjoy solitude, nothing made me happier than spending hours on the back of my m/c traveling through beauty. Its time for me to be away from all the things that grab our daily attention and sift through where life has taken me and where I'm going. While not a church goer I am a "spiritual" guy. I need time alone with the Big Guy to clear my head and heart. I've become too bitter and jaded. I need to clean out the cob webs in a serious way!
There is ALWAYS a way!
PS - I talked my brother into joining me - ok, so I didn't need to "talk" him into it - I just started to mention my plan and he was ALL over it!! We're about as close as brothers can be - I can't wait to get to spend more quality time with him!
There is ALWAYS a way!
1. because it's there
2. silence, solitude and fasting for physical, spiritual and mental health
3. to access my passion
4. to provoke creativity
5. to remember the chestnuts
6. for my grandfathers
7. to learn the reliance of simplicity
Not all those who wander are lost... well, I mean I kinda roughly know where we are... East is definitely that way... right?
I will be graduating in December and have no desire to jump right into a career. I need to do some growing up first, and I know that the trail is the way for me to do it. I manage to work out more issues in a 2 hour hike than I do in 2 months of work/school.
I also just plain love to be out in the woods sweating my ass off while racing up a mountain. Being up on a ridge with a cool breeze, and the scent of hemlocks is probably my favorite place in the whole world, and being able to experience that for months at a time seems unbelievable. Plus I'm dating the most incredible girl I've ever met who wants to do it too. We both need a big adventure before we settle down.
For some, the reason they want to hike is to say they did something that no one else will do. For others, it's to prove to themselves that they have what it takes.
For me, it's the love of hiking. I love being outdoors, and when I started thinking of thru hiking, I pictured great views, meeting new and exciting people, and having an experience of a lifetimes. Though this is all true, the simple fact is that it will be full of rain, snow, slush, bears, dogs, crazy drunks, hurting thighs, and many more other things. But why do we hike? If it is to try to and say I did something you can't do, then this is the wrong place for you. But if you love to hike, truely love the outdoors, then the AT is home to you.
My girlfriend and I broke up about 2 months ago, and when that happened, I was knocked down. But I realized that since I was born, I was told what to do and how to do it, not just by parents, but by everyone, including my ex. I was never given a chance to do what I wanted, and when I did do what I wanted, it was always unimportant. My ex before my last ex cried when I got into the school of music, and I have been living with alcoholics most of my life. I hated life, and I hated myself.
But when I went to the mountains last year, I felt alive. I felt this sense of belonging that no one could understand. This was my home, up here in the North Carolina mountains. This was where I belonged, where the mountains won't judge me, where I felt free. So it began, my obsession with the Appalachian Trail.
To thru hike it is my plan, but I, just like all of us who or are going to hike it, have a deeper connection to it. To thru hike means we will become a part of the trail. Our years and months of saving every cent, of buying gear, of training, become a part of the trail. Our blood, sweat and tears get soaked up the trail. We don't hike the trail, we live it. We are doing something that is bigger then us.
When we make it through our journey, it won't matter why we started it to begin with. Yes, we have our reasons, but at the end of the trail, we will have learned what we are all about.
One of the happiest people I know I met on the Trail. He had finished school (BYU) and was trying to decide whether to go take a big well paying job or do what he liked best (being in the woods). He is a bird counter for a non-profit, makes about $19,000 a year but loves what he is doing. THAT IS WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT. I hope to see you on the Trail.
Walk with God
Learn who you really are
Feel sustained joy
Become a super athlete - if you don't slackpack - or at least very healthy
Live in a Kharmatic state
Do something in life just for you
Become immune to letting the little things bother you
Live in the present, untethered to itinerary - go with the flow mentality for life
See the good in everyone
Feed your spirit
And all these things you take with you for the rest of your life (hopefully staying in shape too). The further you hike on the AT, the better the journey gets and the more you learn about what is important in life. Memories from hiking the AT are an endless well of happy thoughts that you can drink from anytime.
Also: When you get into a hike, the rain and cold and dark...are just part of the journey and are cool too. You occassionally get down during these times because of something else usually - dehydrated because you exhaled your liquids on a cold night, hungry and need electrolytes, etc. You learn to recognize and fix what's getting you down pretty early on.
I'm not going to lie, and say that this has been a dream of mine for years, because it hasn't. My choices always lead me to large cities where I was unhappy. I came back to the mountains for what I thought was going to be a break and what I found instead was the AT. I need a new challenge in my life, a new chance to see what I can fight for in my life. I've become stagnant in mind, body and spirit, it's time for me to walk to awareness and let who I truly am flow from me like a river over the rocks of objection and preconception.
To Build a stronger relationship with God through focus and trust.
To bring the cart back around behind the horse again. My wife and I married into already having children from a previous marriage so we will now explore the honeymooners phase of marriage - the phase before parenting (the kids are in college now) on a romantic adventure, that, like marriage and parenting, will have many challenges and ups and downs (all puns intended)....wait, what are we thinking!?!
To fulfill a dream from the first time I hiked the AT, 10 years ago.
To conquer fear, to face challenge and adversity, to meet people with common goals from all walks of life.
To process what is next after the trail.
You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
I've never been tested in my life, Im not trying to be arrogant, but i floated through life without any hard work(granted im 18 so it hasnt been that long.) The only time i really feel like im accomplishing anything is when im physically pushing myself.
Also the only time i feel sane is when im outdoors. I cant stand college so far, my classes to this point have been easy, and i hate walking to class everyday thinking that on this beautiful day im going to go sit in a box for the next couple hours. If i dont hike at all for an long time(like a week) i get aggressive and irritable.
I just want a memorable experience. Rain, snow, sun, i love being alive and out in it. I want to revel in the glory of life and the freedom of carrying my world on my back, my days destination subject only to my whim and fancy.