For a short stint we were able to call ourselves section hikers. The hike up to the A.T was to say the least arduous & daunting. This was my first back country camping/hike ever, and being a professional athlete prior to this hike I felt confident in my mental toughness & ability. Insert buzzer here- that was not the case. There was a brief moment during our hike up the face of the mountain that I cried, and exclaimed dramatically “I can’t make it, I’m not good at anything.” The 5 year old escaped through my mouth like a beaconing echo that I had been telling myself for years, but managed to push through it. So the inner self bugged its ugly head to the surface trying to tear my my soul in two and leave me for dead on the side of this rocky, muddy, mountain. Like a child waiting to hear, “You can do it! Keep pushing,” but instead I got the bewildered eyes of my husband starring back at me like, “stop being a baby, let’s go.” That’s what I had heard thru-hikers talk about, the tugging of ones soul and finding yourself on a hike, was true. Also, exhaustion, hunger, and a period can pull that little demon out too.
It’s in those trying times you realize how real you are, not like a Pinocchio moment, but feeling your existence here on earth. I am merely just another food source in an ever evolving food chain and if I give up now, there’s no car, train, or person within miles to shake me from this mindset. We require very little to survive, water, food, shelter, & warmth. Yet you wouldn’t realize that until you’re 3000 feet above society in-between sobs, that you’re babbling brook of a tantrum isn’t going to help you here.
My sweet, loving husband just waited till the moment was over, making sure he showed in his way that it’s time to move forward. Burying my head, furrowed brow, and trek pole to the path we headed to the A.T. There wasn’t a more glorious moment than when we saw the sign for the A.T and knowing we were half way done with our 15 mile hike. As I know now more than ever, a trail will help you to, die to oneself, the A.T makes you die over and over again before building you up for that last moment of victory of finishing (1 Pet 2:24, Gal 5:24, Jn 12:@4, Rom 12:1-2, Gal 6:14) . Which is what is so addicting about hiking. All of us know despite our beliefs there is something bigger out there, something more than what we see, and instinctively we know we have to die to ourselves everyday to recover truth, peace, faith, and love. The best therapy on earth is God’s majestic wilderness that brings solitude and harmony to anyones soul that can take the time to admire such a creation. (Genesis 1:1)
Hiking and backcountry camping did all of this for me, and I will be forever addicted and thankful for this experience. If you haven’t lugged a 35 lb pack on a 15 miles hike, dug a hole for your excrement, and filtered your own water- DO IT! It will change your life.