Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: Three Important Questions
Hello my friends, as I mentioned in a post recently I’ve begun my long preparation before hiking the Appalachian Trail starting in late February or early March of 2015. Over the next year and hopefully from time to time on the trail I will be updating you on my progress both in preparation and hopefully in miles walked. I will be writing along the way and hopefully learning and sharing some lessons on happiness along the way.
So I’ve been giving some thought lately to my downtime on the trail. I know, when you’re walking 2200 miles it doesn’t sound like there will be much downtime, but there will be some each night in the tent. Also on days when I hike into a town to replenish my foods supplies and at times take a full day off from hiking to take a shower, do laundry and eat non-reconstituted dried foods.
When you’re hiking this many miles you obsess about pack weight and try and reduce every ounce you can. The way I’ve started to think about this is that it is estimated that walking the AT takes five million steps. Think about holding one pound and walking one step, you have done the work of moving one pound, one step. Over the course of the AT you will have moved that one pound, five million steps. The work if you will of moving five million pounds one step. If you’ll tolerate just a little more math that means for every 3.2 ounces of weight that you carry it is the equivalent of moving one million pounds one step. That is why weight counts so much.
So there isn’t a lot of weight for “luxuries” like an mp3 player or a pillow, unless you’re willing to add the million pounds. One of the luxury items I’ll carry is a journal so that I can record events, thoughts etc….someplace to compose future Ministry of Happiness posts. As I was thinking about all of this today I decided to also cut down what I want to record each day. There will certainly be days when I’m too wet and tired to write, but I really don’t want to lose the thoughts of a single day, so I decided at a minimum every day I will record three things.
What did I learn today?
What made me happy?
What was the most beautiful thing I experienced today?
I think a couple of hundred days of recording these observations should lead to some pretty interesting reading, at least I hope so. Of course, as I thought about these questions I realized that I probably shouldn’t wait until the Appalachian Trail to start looking at my days this way. So my friends, I’ll start and I encourage you to start asking yourself these questions each day. Perhaps you even have better questions, I’d love for you to leave them in the comments, but even more, I’d love for you to record those thoughts daily and make every single day a happy day ~ Rev Kane