In my last post, Why Im Attempting and Appalachian Trail Thru Hike…Again, I outlined my reasons for hiking again, even after the incredible amount of self-induced suckiness I experienced in last years failed attempt. What I didn’t do is describe why I’m Thru-Hiking.
Apart from “Why the heck would you try that again?” the other question I get most often is “Why don’t you just start where you left off?”
The answer is both simple, and complicated. The simple answer is, I really want to be in the exclusive club. The complicated answer probably says something about my mental state.
I like doing hard things. If you have more than a passing interest in the Appalachian trail than you probably relate to this in some way. I have consistently found that the most desperate struggles in my life have lead to the most positive transformation.
People often say with large goals, and with the trail in particular, you need to have a why. The why for me, in almost anything that I do, is that I think I’ll like the person I become.
I imagine sitting down with future Sidetrack in some dingy coffee shop. It’s November, 2022 and he’s just turned 26. Small flecks of foam from his cappuccino hang from a scraggly beard that he really ought to have shaved by now.
Its only been six months since we’ve talked, but he’s quieter, calmer and more self-assured. He exudes the silent confidence of a man that knows he can handle whatever comes his way and knows that he’s been to the breaking point and survived. He has incredible stories that he and few others can truly understand. He’s experienced life at its simplest, and clearest. He felt highs and lows that I can’t fathom, and he was changed.
I want to meet that man, and to become him. Re-doing those 200 miles gives me 200 more miles of change and transformation.
Imagine, if you will, your favorite vacation spot. That place you always go, where you know all the little hidden spots, and have a …….