You crazy ass, son of a bitch….what have you just committed yourself to doing?! YOU CRAZY ASS, SON OF A BITCH!!!

With only 31 days left in the “real world”, I am finding myself becoming more and more anxious, impatient and full of second guesses. THIS. IS. CRAZY. I am about to start the adventure of a lifetime, that few ever get the opportunity to attempt and one that millions will only be able to dream of doing. THIS. IS. CRAZY. However, this upcoming adventure isn’t without its share of pre-trail stress, anxiety and excitement. THIS. IS. CRAZY.

My biggest fear at this time is not completing the 2,190.3 mile trek from Georgia to Maine that I have committed to hiking. Not only would this be a huge personal failure, but I would also be letting down a lot of other people who are supporting me and my crazy dream of thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. Self accountability is and always has been a HUGE opportunity for my personal growth and I hope I find new ways to hold myself accountable for my commitments and actions.

I am hiking the trail solo, but will undoubtedly find new friends along the way. Starting such a MAMMOTH-SIZED undertaking alone worries me for a reason that may sound completely INSANE to some: THIS IS COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY. There will be no boss calling me asking why Im still asleep and not hiking, there will be no posse of friends giving me shit for taking a zero, then nero, then zero again and not making miles, there will be no Mom reminding me that I have daily goals to meet and to make sure I remember to check my nether regions for ticks. I WILL BE 100% responsible and directly accountable for my daily and overall success of this hike. THIS. IS. CRAZY. Continue reading

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THIS. IS. CRAZY.

My dreams set me up (for success on the A.T.)

For in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let them swim in the deepest ocean or glide over the highest cloud. -Albus Dumbledore

If dreams REALLY foretold glimpses of our futures, then my dream maker is broken. I should be able to fly by now. Don’t mistake my sarcastic remark with a sincere dislike for dreams! On the contrary, dreams are what have brought me to the start line of this crazy upcoming adventure.

For probably the past 4, no, maybe 9 months I’ve dreamt of NOTHING but hiking along the A.T. during my thru-hike. I’ve already visited ALL the major trail towns (in my dreams), I’ve already learned first-hand how to deal with being WET ALL THE TIME (in my dreams), I’ve learned how to NOT squat in an area of poison ivy while pooping (in my dreams), I’ve certainly gained my trail legs as I’ve hiked close to 1/2 of the trail now (in my dreams), I know how to overcome the inevitable homesickness that will hit because I’ve already spent SO MUCH TIME out there (in my dreams). I know how to deal with the unforgiving, relentless hiker-hunger because I’ve run out of food a day and half early before reaching my next resupply point (in my dreams), I’ve suffered through bouts of Giardiasis from drinking untreated water (in my dreams), I’ve dealt with hours of open ridge lines under the sun making it feel like Satan is tea-bagging you the entire way (in my dreams)…thanks dreams! Yeah, I think I’m pretty much prepared for what lies ahead!

No, I do not suffer from that low of a level of gullibility. As a matter of fact, I am probably one of the most LEAST experienced hikers there is going to be attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail this year. I’ve seen others wayyyyyyyyy worse off than me that have successfully made it in one season, so I know it’s just a matter of getting out of my head–psychologically. I’ve given myself a few shakedowns in all weather: summer, spring and most recently winter, and feel pretty dang good about my choices in gear…do’s/don’ts, shoulds/should nots,will’s/will not’s—you get the picture.

My point is, I’m glad my dreams originally gave me the confidence to believe I was capable of such a massive endeavor. It’s for that reason I began my intense research into the matter. I’m even more grateful that I wasnt gullible enough to believe it would be as easy as my dreams made it seem. I made sure to get out there for some real-life, out-from-under-the-covers practice in the woods. The biggest lessons I’ve learned through practice hikes, shakedowns and interacting with past and future thru hikers is to stay humble during your hike, hike your own hike and offer advice but don’t claim for it to be the “right way” because there isn’t one. Staying humble and accepting what the trail gives me at any given point will be the biggest challenge for me. Damn dreams set me up…it’s not always sunshine and daisies…NO RAIN, NO PAIN, NO MAINE…so they say!

Things I hope to accomplish while on the trail

I hope to accomplish many things during my thru hike. I’m not going to include the incontrovertible reason everyone uses–self growth and reconnection with nature. Sure, I hope to accomplish both, but on a more subconscious basis.

There are thousands of reasons you will hear as to why any individual hiker is choosing such a pilgrimage, but here are the reasons I want to hike the entire A.T. outside of the aforementioned and they are as follows:

  • Check in at Amicalola Falls S. P.
  • Get a Springer Mountain Summit Photo
  • Climb all the Lookout Towers
  • Meet Miss Janet and get a picture with her sweet ass van!
  • Hike naked on the First Day of Summer
  • Split a Room with Other Hikers
  • Poop in the woods
  • See a Rattlesnake
  • Take a Lunch/Breakfast/Dinner Break by a Waterfall
  • Pony selfies in Grayson Highlands
  • Zip-Line to The Captain’s
  • Death defying picture atMcAfee Knob
  • Visit the Trailside Zoo
  • Ride in a Canoe
  • Get a Photo at Mount Washington Summit
  • Make it to Baxter State Park
  • Get a Katahdin Summit Photo
  • Learn to correctly identify poison ivy
  • Be able to let go of the things that don’t add any value to my life
  • Be able to IDENTIFY those things that don’t add value and let them go

Now that I have my goals prioritized for the trail…. I guess it’s time to move on to the more technical prioritization of my gear! See you next post!!