Sunday, July 28, 2013

One of the books I am reading is the one shown above, written by a man who never backpacked in his life and yet, succeeded in hiking the entire AT.
His secret to success?  He had answered some harsh psychological questions before hitting the trail when the question of, "what the hell am I doing here" sends 30% of hikers scurrying home in the first 30 miles.
The first question the book posses is, why am I hiking the AT.  Other books I have ready; mostly hikers writing about their own experiences, list two common answers: To get away from something or to go toward something.
Many are going through rough divorces and are getting away from the failure of their marriage, seeking a success in an aspect of their lives and/or dodging the spouses lawyer.
Others are seeking to escape their hum-drum lives for an adventure.  Still others are seeking to find courage or strength to quell lifetime fears.
One woman on a YouTube video speaking to a group of wannabe thru-hikers said that what one carries on one's back is indicative of the fears they carry in life.  Beyond the essentials necessary for a safe, somewhat comfortable journey, someone who is afraid of being cold will carry extraneous clothing.  Another who fears being hungry will carry extra food and so on.
From the videos I have watched and the overweight packs the people are carrying, it seems that the general fear of the unknown ranks highest and so they trudge along with many pounds of "just in case's".
In my case, at this point anyway, my desire to hike the AT is for the bragging rights of having accomplished something extraordinary, and to shed the many fears I have carried around in life.  Fear of the unknown that has made me a worrier; fear of being hungry or cold which has kept me lashed to jobs that only offer a paycheck as a reward; and the biggest fear of all: The fear of failure.
More on the spiritual side later.

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