Remembering the Appalachian Trail
If you face the rest of your life with the spirit you show on the trail, it will have no choice but to yield the same kind of memories and dreams.
So it’s that time of year, when all former Appalachian Trail hikers start to get homesick for the trail. Most of us started in March and it was mid January when it started to feel real. Leading into that final frantic rush of getting all of the last things done, when all of the butterflies started flapping around in my stomach. Where each night as you went to sleep you were counting down the days and running through checklists in your head. Even with all of that obsessing it was only two weeks before I left that I realized I had sleeping bags equal to the weather for the whole trip, except the first month and frantically ordered one. Only, to send it home two weeks in and swap it out for a more appropriate bag.
I not only know in my gut when this time of year hits, I can see it in my blog traffic. Suddenly my AT resource page and AT posts start to pick up hits. You see in addition to everything else as you embark on a thru-hike you start reading everything you can get your hands on. God I miss that manic planning, the nerves, the edge of excitement right before starting. For my thru-hike attempt in 2014 I was excited and absolutely terrified. I was excited for the attempt, terrified it would go horribly wrong, fearful that my lack of long-distance hiking experience would show me out to be a fraud. There were moments that justified all of those feelings. There was an amazing and wonderful day that I was referred to as a troll sitting on a bridge, there was the day it did go horribly wrong when I blew out my knee and there was a night early on when after setting up my hammock and sat down then immediately did a full backflip and landed on my ass in front of four other hikers.
The thing I really didn’t expect about hiking the Appalachian Trail was the amazing people. The trail community was absolutely magnificent. Not just the hikers, they were fantastic and I added more lifelong friends from that hike in three months than from any other single activity or time in my life. But the community around the trail, the volunteers, the people who fed us and took us in, trail angels they are called for good reason. These people were utterly amazing in every way. They restored some of my hope in humanity through their giving and kindness.
I miss the trail, those people, the process and the challenge, it was one of the best times of my life and it led to me writing my book Appalachian Trail Happiness and so many blog posts, click here to find a list of some of the best ones.
So what should this post tonight mean for you. It’s a simple thing really, everything I’ve written about tonight was the culmination of dreams and desires put into action. So whatever it is my friends, however improbable, however old you are, do it. Take your dreams, decide to pursue them, plan like hell and then put them into action. Trust me, it’s worth the risk and the fear and will produce some of your happiest days my friends. ~ Rev Kane