Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    Posts
    998
    Images
    45

    Default How to use trail lessons in the "real world".

    I had a rough time from NY to VT on my thru. It got hot as balls and the mosquitos came out in full force. For some stupid reason, i never thought about bug netting. My dad mailed me some in Kent. My life got a little better. Then a few days later I stopped to have some dinner in MA and before I could get my food out I was attacked by 1,000 mosquitos. I freaked out a little. I ran two miles with a full pack to Tyringham, then hitched into Lee where I sat at friendlys for 3 hrs and ate ice cream. After I had a minute to get my head together, I did a small resupply, since i was in town, grabbed a sixer of PBR and hitched back to Tyringham. Sat in the town shelterhouse, drank my six, ate some food and contemplated my hike. I woke up the next day and started walking. A day or two later I spent a night at upper goose pond. A former thru hiker brought in a bunch of ice cream and we gorged. A couple of days after that, I walked into Dalton and stayed at Tom Levardi's. He was an excellent host. I stayed there two nights and he slackpacked a few of us over Mt Greylock. When he dropped us off at the VT border, I had a new lease on life. Something out of all that hardship changed me. I believe that was my most difficult time on the entire AT. But once I was able to conquor that, I had no reason to believe that I would fail.

    So, when life gets tough, which I'm sure it has for everybody over the last six months, I've often thought about that difficult stretch I had on the trail. And it has helped me to know that I had the courage ro reach down deep. And I can still do it.

    That experience has helped me out of a few jams.

    Anyone else have similar experiences?

  2. #2

    Default

    I frequently use the saying" well at least no one is shooting at me." Always makes everything a little better.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-10-2013
    Location
    Indiana
    Age
    57
    Posts
    390

    Default

    When I was in Maine in 2014, I tripped and smashed my knee. What I hoped was just a bruise turned out to be a hike-ending injury -- and I had only just started the 100 Mile Wilderness (SOBO.) It was scary painful, and I quite literally found myself crawling at times until I reached a point where folks from the AT Lodge in Millinocket picked me up a few days later. I had been planning that hike for almost three years, and I was crushed.

    It was horrible, and to say that I felt like a pitiful failure is an understatement. But I took some valuable lessons from that experience -- and perhaps the most important was learning that I was *not* in fact a pitiful failure. I knew what to do to care for the initial injury; I knew when to call it quits and not make it worse; I had done my homework and planned for the possibility that I'd need help out (having the AT Lodge phone number and a map so that I could coordinate an exit point.) I was stronger than I thought, and I was smarter than I thought (although I surely didn't look it!)

    Things go wrong in life, disappointments happen, and sometimes you are going to have to deal with challenges that are inconvenient, to say the least...and you find that yes, you can deal with it. Just take a breath and take the next step. You'll get through it.

    And enjoy the beauty. Because as much as it hurt, as pathetic as I felt, I was still surrounded by stunning beauty, and just taking moments to appreciate that made the situation better.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  4. #4
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,428
    Images
    2

    Default

    I came home from my first thru hike (PCT'04) with less confidence than when I started. I was an aggressive fire department lieutenant, in addition to an avid backcountry skier, climber and road cyclist (classic adrenaline junkie). Experiences on that trail changed me, and came home a more thoughtful, careful person. My chief noticed the difference and promoted me to captain.

    I went on to hike the CDT, AT, AZT, WT, PNT. I cycled cross-country one summer, too. Those were all mentally easier than my first long hike. Many things in life got easier seen through the perspective of a season-long effort.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    17,985

    Default

    Hiking has taught me to question consumption and embrace minimalism. This translates into off trail living PT in a Tiny House built for less than $20 K, growing 30% of my own food, listening more than speaking, being less wasteful, being more grateful, and not 100% relying on normal US modern conveniences.

  6. #6
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-03-2017
    Location
    Lynchburg, VA
    Age
    41
    Posts
    542

    Default

    I've always said that people have one of two reactions to stress, they either lose their $hit or it sharpens their focus. I think doing any tough enduring physical endeavor, such as being out on the trail, can help hone that skill of sharpening your focus and will to beat any obstacle placed in front of you. That can serve you well in many aspects of your life.

    But I also found lessons from the trail that contradict my regular way of life. I sometimes return from extended time on the trail to question why I do certain things. You can live so basically, and happily, on the trail. But I have so many unnecessary, stressful, and materialistic things in my regular life. It's actually caused me and my wife to have vastly different approaches to life. She is all about working, having a house, establishing yourself. But I find myself drifting in the opposite direction and I attribute a large part of that to my experiences backpacking. I guess long story short, I have a bad case of Wanderlust.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-17-2007
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    Posts
    998
    Images
    45

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    Many things in life got easier seen through the perspective of a season-long effort.
    I like this. I grew up wrestling. I never felt that people understood other than fellow wrestlers and their parents. A wrestling season is grueling, and tests your physical and mental stamina, much like a thru hike. On more than one occasion on my thru hike I thought back to my wrestling days to help me get thru the hard times.

    Now when things in life get hard I think back to my time on the trail, and hiking in general. It seems that my wrestling days prepared me for the trail, and my time on the trail prepared me for the tribulations of life.

    I think hardship makes you a stronger better person and most people don't experience that. The state of the world isn't ideal right now, but it helps me to think back to some of the really hard times while I watch people around me freak out because they can't get their hair cut or go to applebees. It will eventually get better if you keep your head down and stay focused. Being stuck in your house with family and all the basic necessities isn't the worst thing in the world.

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •