We are pleased to announce our first Hiking Forward AT Crew member... Goldielocks. Presently, Goldielocks is only utilizing her trail name until just before her hike. Please enjoy the story of her preparations of her future thru-hike.
Hi everyone! It's great to officially be the first member of the prestigious AT Crew 2017!! You can call me Goldielocks!
Just a few things about me:
-I'm a super nerd. I love all things math and science. Where my follow nerds at?
-I have a fluffy dog that I absolutely love dearly. (We'll call her Sasslefrass Fluff-bottom).
-Food is a passion! I love Thai Food. I live for Thai food. And sushi. And casseroles. Green bean, squash, sweet potato - you name it. You get the idea.
-I will be setting off for a Flip Flop thru hike of the Appalachian Trail approximately Mid April next year.
Now, let's begin!
I often think about what it must've been like for prehistoric man to stand before the great beasts we call mammoths, armed with only a spear and determination.
I don't really find myself thinking about a man fighting a hairy elephant with a stick, but it seemed like a good way to begin. :)
I DO, however, find myself contemplating the mammoth feat that stands before me: thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. We can all agree that tackling a thru hike of any of the long distance trails in the United States (notably the AT, CDT, & PCT) is a mammoth undertaking requiring physical stamina, mental fortitude and some serious perseverance. Maybe even a dash of stubbornness. Okay, a lot of stubbornness.
Every day is a roller coaster of emotions filled with highs of "This is totally happening; why did I ever doubt this?" and lows of "what on earth are you thinking?!?" Maybe a more accurate analogy would be the teacup ride - you know, the one that spins the life (and hotdogs) out of you. Spinning around and around. The excitement that once filled your soul has begun to fade. The butterflies that once fluttered their wings in your stomach have suddenly turned sour. You find yourself repeatedly asking yourself "Why?"
This ride will last until Mid April when I step foot on the trail. Then, it becomes real. It's really happening.
The obstacles keep piling up into a colossal mountain.
-I'm out of shape and overweight.
-I'm a woman - it's hard to find other women in this hobby to train with
-I'm a novice. There's so much to learn and so many opinions floating around out there.
-I live in Florida. We're known for our white beaches, not mountainous terrain.
-I'll have to quit my job.
-I have another human being that partially relies on me for her care.
-I have to keep a strict budget to reach my financial goals prior to the trail.
-I have to make arrangements for my dog. Does this make me an awful doggy mom?
The mountain of obstacles and doubt is seemingly smothering me. I keep clawing my way, digging through the debris hoping to see light. I just keep telling myself to keep my head low and keep trudging through. There HAS to be an out. Before we even step foot at Springer, or in my case Harpers Ferry, we must first conquer the mountain of obstacles and doubt. And, boy is it all piling up!!
I would like to believe this is totally normal. But, I'm not so sure. Everyone out there is writing about their gear choices and why they chose to save half an ounce on one item here and there. (Just take the extra little bit of toilet paper for crying out loud, Tarzan. We're not barbarians. And when we cross paths later on: You're welcome.)
But, let's be real, I'm also worried about the important questions:
-How am I going to stay up to date with Game of Thrones?
-How greatly will taking time off from my MBA steer me off course?
-I am an avid contact wearer. What am I going to do about my eyes? WHAT. ABOUT. MY EYES?!
-What if I somehow end up on a trail cam pre-tinkle with the full moon in full exposure? THE HORROR.
-How will I burn down my tent if there is a spider? (I'm terrified of spiders...add that to the obstacle list)
We prospective thru-hikers are somewhat on our own in this endeavor. No one is going to force you to live like a badass, mountain-conquering, homeless person for half of a year. It's easy to feel completely overwhelmed and alone. But the fact of the matter is - there wasn't just one man taking down a mammoth. There were a multitude of others with the same goal, different perspectives, all striving for the same thing - a satiation of a common hunger.
These people are my tribe. Even you reading this now - paint your face, baby! Because you're in the tribe too! We all have the same hunger. Although I may not know you, I know I am not facing a colossal beast alone. With that final note, I invite you to join me in my journey. Let the adventure begin!
Keep Hiking Forward!
Hiking Forward Stickers