How do you know when someone does Crossfit? Oh, they’ll tell you – over and over. How do you know when someone is attempting a thru-hike? Same thing. I’m 17 days out and, as you might expect, the most common topic on my brain is this hike. I’ve been to professional networking functions. Invariably people ask you “what’s up” . . . when that happens I see an opening and I tell them about my plans.
I know it’s natural to want to talk about important things, and honestly, I’m not embarrassed that I bring up my adventure. I know that people love to hear of other people’s adventures; like anyone, we conjure the romantic images of whatever that adventure is. The white sandy beaches, the fresh air, the majestic mountains. What I’m sure they don’t envision, at least as it applies to a thru-hike, is the pain. The blisters, heat, sore back, stubbed toe, sunburn, hypothermia, lack of sleep and the invariable cut on the hand (how DID I cut myself?).
To be honest, I don’t really think about that stuff either. I know it’s going to happen so why worry about it. There’s no reason to be miserable twice for the same thing. So, I ignore the impending. I think of those sunny but perfect temperature days, on flat ground, hiking next to gurgling streams. I dream of those million mile views. I don’t think of the rain or how it turns to mud that sticks to your boots so eventually you’re plodding along with 10lb feet. I know that this is going to be a physically demanding endeavor.
Knowing all of this has enabled me to look at this hike differently. Usually, when I go backpacking my intent is to get to where I’m going without wasting time, so I can enjoy the campsite. I’ll relax in camp, pace be damned! But on this trip, I’m really not “going anywhere”; sure, there’s a goal, but it’s nothing to hurry about. I’m going to hike when I want, stop when I’m tired, nap when I’m sleepy and camp when I like my surroundings.
I’ll be measuring the smiles per day, rather than worrying about miles per day. For the most part. I’ll still keep y’all up to date. I’ve got one of those DeLorme InReach devices and apparently I’m able to post to Facebook and shit. Really roughin’ it, huh? I’ll also be periodically posting to Instagram and in this here blog-thingy when I reception and intention happen to intersect.
If you get a wild hair up your butt and feel like going camping, hiking or mountain biking, maybe you could time your outing to my passing through. Both pizza AND fried chicken are great at room temperature.
Is it September 19th yet . . .