All the Feels

It’s strange to be here again. This time before I start… planning and scheming, but not truly knowing what I’m getting into. Do I really think I can do this!?

Oye.

I’m better prepared, right? Before my PCT hike, I had only a few backpacking trips under my belt, always with someone else guiding me along.

Now, I have over 3,000 miles on different National Scenic Trails. A bit of boasting here, I admit, but I am proud of it and really am just trying to convince myself that I’m alright at this backpacking thing and have a decent amount of experience to take on this mighty trail!

Still…

I’m nervous. I’m afraid. Uncertain how it’s going to go. Maybe I won’t make it 100 miles. Maybe I don’t have what it takes.

Do I have the motivation and the drive to keep going? That’s been on my mind, wondering if I still even enjoy it or if I’m tired of living outside yet. Living in my van for over a year now has made me really really dislike cold mornings, particularly the getting out of the warm sleeping bag part. This trail is supposed to be hundreds of miles longer than the PCT, which I barely finished before winter hit.

Last time, I was truly wandering, healing as I hiked day after day. Time was what I needed. And that’s what I got. Lots of it 😊. Now, I feel I’m in a much better mental state, but question if I should be doing more with my time. More with my life. I’ve created a sort of vision/plan for the next few years, but often second guess the decisions I’m making. Doing things a bit differently, navigating my own route, isn’t always easy. The more natural thing is to follow along with the current, go with what seems to be the norm.

Will this confusion and lack of certainty eventually lead me off trail or am I once again at a crossroads in which time is exactly what I need?

All these questions and doubts have and will continue to bombard around in my head. But along with them is overwhelming excitement, joy, and a competitive side of me that’s eager for the challenge. Honestly, I feel a stronger drive to complete the CDT than I ever did the PCT. It was always more about being out there, than finishing the trail. And I’m keeping that attitude. I’ll definitely hold on to the “smiles before miles” modo that I so enjoy quoting,

But… underneath it all, I think I’m going to push myself further this go around. Step it up, I suppose, two the streets. Matrix Reloaded, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. You catch my drift? Picking up what I’m putting down? I feel its going to be needed to hike this trail in its entirety, let alone in one season.

So that’s where I’m at going in to this. In summary, all over the place! But, I truly feel that’s what makes it great. In Barney “Scout” Mann’s book, Journeys North, one of the thru-hiker characters tells something he once heard from an Appalachian Trail guru…

We stop expecting the trail to be what we want and we start accepting the trail as it is.”

Ultimately, I know that all these feeling are valid and probably similar to those shared by the comrades I’ll meet along the way. There’s no way to know what’s ahead.

“It’s time to let go. Everything’s going to be all right.” – Dory

“How do you know? How do you know something bad isn’t going to happen?” – Marlin

“I don’t!” – Dory (Finding Nemo)

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