View Full Version : Don't hike for the wrong reason....

05-08-2003, 20:07
Maybe because of my work schedule, construction on my house and hiking I dont maintain a lot of friends and if I ever meet any of you I would gladly shake hands or hug you as I consider the hiking community my friends, and as my friends I need to vent so I warn you the following is long, windy, emotional and religeous-much like the Appalachian Trial, so you may won't to stop reading now but you may get something out of it.
If you have been reading my posts and my last trip report you probably know I have been in a fight, the battle of my life I feel. I told myself that the big mile days on this last hike we to see if I could do it, to see what it feels like to be a thru-hiker doing big mileage days. In honestly I was pushing myself to exhaustion so I could sleep. I didnt sleep well-no I wasnt lying about the hammock, when I did finally sleep I did wake up without back soreness.
Almost a year ago I made the biggest mistake of my life. I pushed someone out of my life and I have regreted it every waking hour. I tried to make someone something she wasnt, I tried to substitute somone for someone else, I tried to hike away the regret and the pain. Have you ever had a thought that reverberates inside you mind a thousand times? A million times? On this last hike I must have asked God a thousand times to take the pain away, to make everything right, he didn't. I kept pushing the miles with the same question to God, asking him to forgive me, pushing harder and harder thinking that would take the pain away. It didn't.
Today I needed a treadmill moved from the city to my house in the mountains and upstairs. My usual helpers were working and my mom suggested her lawn man. I called and asked if he could help. He said he would be more than glad to. We loaded the treadmill and were on our way. In short time I learned he was a Christian and could not read or write. I tried to impress him with my latest hike figures, he wasn't impressed. Within an hour I would learn that he was smarter than I. After arriving at the cabin it took less than ten minutes to get a 300 pound treadmill upstairs. Afterward I offerd him a Pepsi and we were on our way. Maybe it was written on my face, maybe he could sense it, maybe it was a Christian's opportunity to witness. Before we were half-way down the mountain he turned to me and asked if I wanted to talk about it. After I told him the whole story he asked me five questions and after the third I was crying in front of a man I hardly knew but a man who knew me well.
He asked if I had asked the Lord to forgive me and I told him yes. He asked if I had asked her to forgive me and I said yes. He then asked if I had forgiven myself. I hesitated and didnt answer. He was quiet for a few moments then he asked if I still loved her and if she still loved me. I answered yes to both questions. The next thing he said to me was 'then its about trust'. I didnt say anything and he continued. He asked if we were talking and I told him we were. When Jerry begain again I knew God was talking through him, he told me to give the battle to God, that healing can't be rushed that I had to take it day by day. Then this illiterate man who was as strong as three oxes told me I was hiking for the wrong reason.
I learned something today, for me it is to forgive, to right a wrong as best as you can, to give your battle to God and let his will be done in his time. The Appalachian Trail is so much to all of us but God is the healer and the true teacher.
Simva the Medicine Man

Blue Jay
05-09-2003, 08:12
You may not have been hiking for the wrong reason. I have been in a similar position. It is possible, when hiking to go deep within yourself, to a place that touches the divine. For me, it's much much harder to get there, out here. Hey, we all screw up. Unfortunately learning the hard way sometimes is the only way.

05-09-2003, 22:36
Simva....I think it's safe to say "I've been there..done that"! Although my experence didn't turn out as I wished it had..I feel it was God's wish that I continued on the path I was on. You can feel secured that I will pray for your happiness and success.

Preacher Dude
05-10-2003, 18:36
On my recent 7 day hike from Springer to Dick's Creek, I sometimes fell under the influence of a compulsion "to make miles". I ran into several "thru hikers" as well as a group that were going from Springer to Damascus for "Trail Days" who were all "burning leather" in an attempt to travel as many miles as they could in a day. As I was climbing Justus Mountain, I came to a scenic overlook and was about to pass by without stopping, when that "inner voice" urged me to stop and drink in some of God's natural beauty that can be found nowhere else but on the trail. The view was absolutely magnificent, so I dropped my pack and got out my camera. Just before I snapped the picure, a golden eagle flew into view.....so I quickly took the picture then stood there and watched him soar for awhile. The thought occurred to me that I had responded to that "inner yearning" to stop and enjoy some of God's natural beauty .........and God had blessed me again by allowing me to see one of His most magnificent creatures.
The old 1934 Appalachian Trail marker that is at the beginning atop Springer Mountain sums up what I believe to be the "right" reason for hiking the trail.........."for those who desire communion with the wilderness". When we remember this, hiking the trail becomes a most enjoyable and even sometimes "life changing" experience, but when we try to just "make miles" we miss so much of the trail's natural beauty and grandeur that only the very few of us in our society will ever have the privilege to experience. There are numerous places in the Scriptures that state that "Jesus went up on a mountainside to pray". I believe that Jesus Himself felt closer to God the Father there..........likewise I always am more aware of the presence of God when I am on the trail , away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and surrounded by so much of God's natural beauty that it is close to intoxicating.
So, Simva, thanks for being so open and honest with your comments, I hope we meet on the trail sometime.


Hammock Hanger
05-10-2003, 20:55
AMEN!!! Hammock Hanger

05-10-2003, 23:24
Originally posted by Simva the Medicine Man

I learned something today, for me it is to forgive, to right a wrong as best as you can, to give your battle to God and let his will be done in his time. The Appalachian Trail is so much to all of us but God is the healer and the true teacher.
Simva the Medicine Man

Amen! More truthful words one rarely hears on a forum such as this.

it is God's love, God's mercy that sustains us, not the trail.


If I walk every white blaze and climb all mountains, but have not love, I gain nothing, I am nothing.
If i can outwalk everyone, carrying no more than a daypack and sneakers,
but have not love, I am a fool and greatly deceived.
If I walk all trails and can identify all plants, but have not love, the Truth evades meand my words are as the clanging cymbol.


05-11-2003, 02:06
Thanks to everyone. I did go back-that wrong-and did what I could, maybe I set the bar too high for me and her, but it was my bar. Life goes on, the trail goes on. Invitations are made and some are recieved. Fewer are taken for what they are. Do you remember 'Manifest Destiny', there are powers among us, some will grip the throat in life's squeeze. Opportunities are given and teken away. I rest easy now knowing that the test wasn't about but from me, it was delievered in due time. Outcomes are often pivotal with completeness of souls waning in their diamonds. To write the stories that we live versus living the stories others write....and as Nietsche said 'Was mach mict ubrinct mach mich starker'..............there comes a time for each of us, maybe it be fame or fortune, the narrow locks of depression, the consumate realization that the planets have indeed stopped in their tracts for two. For me that time is now, to accept the dictates of the directive, to humble thyself and walk the walk of love without its return.
Hope to see all on the trail, especially you Hammock Hanger who understood all too well!

05-11-2003, 06:20
Whether it be God's play-doh or the results of the big-bang, I love nature, and the path through it!

05-11-2003, 16:21

Thanks for sharing your story. This is an outstanding discussion thread. Best of luck to you...


05-12-2003, 12:25
I hope all works out for you , you will be in a lot of prayers.
I am where you were/are. At 40 everything has changed, for +/- I don't know yet. It can work either way, depends on how you respond to it. I've lost my son, wife, my house soon, and plan to quit my job for an 04 thru-hike( this one is my choice). I'm not hiking to forget, I'm doing it cause I've always wanted to and God has not revealed exactly why/what I'm supposed to do on this earth-yet( Hope he does it after the AT>ME>AK trip). I've been stressing out over getting everything done in time, however, if it is meant to be, then it will work out.With effort.
I've made mistakes and paying the piper. Remember, it really does take 2, and one person does not make all of the mistakes. No matter what the other person says.
Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself, above all.
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, these life hurdles are the same.....
Setback....or...... an Oppurtunity??
God bless you and I hope you find your needed peace

Feel free to E-mail. In the end, the race is only with yourself

05-15-2003, 09:32
The AT or any long distance trek provides an opportunity for self examination. We examine our lives in the quiet of our walk. The beauty of nature opens us up to the Life Force that dwells within us all. At times (especially when we have a current rawness in our inner being) we are acutely aware of truth that sometimes is not pleasant to contemplate. Yet the solitude of our walk makes us conscious to truth and brings us to realizations that are obvious in wilderness while obscure in the frenzy of daily work and activities which dilute our attentiveness. Often the only sensible action we can take when truth is revealed is surrender for to fight against truth is foolish. In the rawness of our hurting often we come across another who brings a message of hope. This could be understood as "Trail Magic" of the umpt degree. We can accept it or turn away and continue to suffer. It is peculiar that being in wilderness we find peace, confirmation, hope, solutions to problems, and confrontation with ourselves. In the confrontation we get to make choices. We can "go with the flow" or we can resist what we know to be true. Often it is in the struggle (much like Jacob wrestling with the angel in the Hebrew Bible) that we find the ability to give ourselves when before we needed to be in control. The giving up of control or what I like to think of as surrender is a way of saying to the Ultimate Life Force that we agree to comply and conform with the truth that is revealed. The process may take a while to complete or it may happen instantly. Someone suggested that the long distance walker is one who is trying to escape from a situation at home. I prefer to think of the long distance hike as an opportunity to deal with issues free of the encumbrances which stifle the free flow of ideas. Hiking is an opportunity to clear our minds and allow thoughts to form that in other circumstances might be pushed aside.

It seems that you have found some good resources to assist you in your life's journey.


06-14-2003, 23:11
This is a great thread. I, too, recently lost a dear friend and am feeling somewhat at loose ends. I'm looking at a week on the trail later this year as a sort of vision quest. I've always found answers in the woods.

01-20-2004, 10:38

thank you so much for sharing this heart-warming, personal moment in your life. i think most folks that have posted have felt a similar moment or "have been there...& got the t-shirt"....

i hike the trail as my escape valve from reality...in a sense.
i escape to the wilderness...back to nature...away from the modern world, the high tech gadgets that i use & work with in my daily life....

my wife doesnt understand this totally...but she is nice enuff to let me "escape" a few times a year to "walk in the woods" & enjoy God's beautiful creations.

i'm looking foward to meeting you on the trail one day, brother!

Brushy Sage
01-20-2004, 15:50
People have many reasons for hiking. I knew an airplane pilot who was furloughed, a chiropractor who closed his practice to hike, couples who were engaged, a man whose girlfriend had died, one hiker who did the whole AT twice after a divorce. I hiked after a divorce. One day I met a section hiker who asked me what I was looking for on the AT, and I told him I was looking for the truth about my life. He said I might be surprised, and not altogether pleased, if I should find the truth. I'm not sure I did find it, but the AT experience was certainly a catalyst in that process. When I am hiking, and communing with the trees, birds, flowers, snakes, chipmunks, and other hikers, I know I am communing with God, and I am not far from the truth.

Cedar Tree
01-20-2004, 19:03
Simva, My Friend, thanks for the wonderful post. One of the main reasons I hiked in 2000, was to "get her out of my heart". Now, 4 years later, she is still there, and I'm still hiking.

All the best to you Buddy,
Cedar Tree

Uncle Wayne
01-21-2004, 03:37

My heart goes out to you. I've never experienced what you and several others have mentioned you've gone through in Life; dealing with divorce or loss of a spouse through death. I know it has to be one of the toughest things you can endure. Hikerhead told me one time I was very fortunate that my wife enoyed hiking / being outdoors with me. I agree 100% and I'm very thankful she does. I wish all of you could have that in your Life. I know it doesn't happen often and I don't take it for granted.
Keep the faith Simva, things will work out for you. I've always enjoyed your post, this one included. Take care.

Big Guy
01-21-2004, 23:40
Simva: Wonderful post with many replies that I could only echo. I am not a thru hiker and probably never will, but love the trail by doing sections. I hike for the calm it brings to my life away from all the constant pressures of normal life. The trail I believe is a sanctuary for must of us. It nurtured me in my greatest time of need even though it was only for a day or two. I have not lost as much as many but through the beauty and hardships it helped me forgive myself and well as another for pain that was caused. We all hike for our own reasons, but I do believe that God blessed me with the opportunity to hike in his creation and in so much beauty. My prayers will be with you as you continue your quest for peace. The trail by being tough on me has taught me to not to be so hard on myself and others. May God bless you and provide the peace you seek. I hope our paths cross on the trail one day.Big Guy

Shoe Leather Express
01-22-2004, 18:55

I'm agnostic, but that post left me a little misty. Strange world, eh? :)