The Appalachian Trail is approximately 2,200 miles and covers the span of 14 states from its official southern terminus at Springer Mountain, GA to the tips of Katahdin at the northern terminus. The estimated time to complete a thru-hike is 5-7 months.
Out of approximately 3,330 thru hikers, only 20% complete the full hike.
The experience can be brutal…whether dealing with cold, wintry, blustery conditions, the heat, humidity and thunderstorms during the summer, the snakes, the ticks, the bears, the lack of food or water, smelly people (including the stench from yourself), relieving yourself in the woods (oh my), the treacherous terrain with steep hand over hand climbs in New Hampshire and Maine – the list goes on.
What drives these brave souls to step out and sacrifice literally blood, sweat and tears along with separation from family and jobs and the expense to do this?
As the AppalachianTrail.org puts it:
“Walking the entire A.T. in a continuous journey is one of the most rewarding, exhilarating, and memorable ways you can spend six months of your life. Thru-hiking enables you to immerse yourself deeply in the natural world and view some of the most beautiful, wild and pastoral landscapes in the United States. Thru-hiking will also give you the opportunity to form friendships with people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from around the world.”
What are the rewards? The beauty of the hike and the exhilaration of accomplishing this tremendous feat. As someone said, “You’ve got to pay the mountain to see the view.” Each day is different. Some days are great and some days aren’t. You learn to enjoy the good days the trail gives you and adapt when it doesn’t so that you overcome those challenges. Just like life.
What is going through these hikers’ minds as they approach the beginning of their journey? Excitement? Anticipation? Confidence? Determination? Or is it, “Oh, goodness, what have I gotten myself into!!!?”
Each of them have prepared and know what lies ahead. Each of them are approaching the trail in their own way. Each of them hike their own hike.
How do you approach your trail in life? With confidence and determination? Or with fear and trepidation?
For motivation to live your hike with excitement, give me a shout.
Amy Gamblin – Empowering others to discover their passion and achieve purpose in their career.