Category Archives: Courage

The risks and rewards of hiking solo as a woman

Aislinn gives an interesting perspective about backpacking solo.Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 11.21.26 AM

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Filed under Achievements, Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, challenge, coffee, Courage, Hiking, risk, Walking, wilderness

Imagining with your pen

landscape-1622739_1920Is is somewhere in the Himalayas?  The Canadian wilds, perhaps?  Maybe even the dark land of — Mordor?!  Wherever you think this wild wonder is, take ten minutes with your journal and pen and imagine you’ve been dropped off in this vast landscape.  You have nothing but a knife and a short length of rope and a small container of water.  You have five days to get to civilization or summon rescue.  What would you do?  What’s most important first — food? water? shelter? fire?  Let your imagination roam with the exercise.  Enjoy the challenge of trying to sort things out on paper, as opposed to actually being right there in the middle of it.  What did you learn about yourself?  What did you think and feel?  What skills did you have?  How did your exercise turn out?

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Filed under Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, challenge, Courage, danger, Fear, Hiking, Outdoor skills, risk, wilderness

The 2,000-mile barrier

hiker-1149898_1920There is something which stands in the way of an Appalachian Trail backpacker and success. Something that makes even the day-hiker hesitant to head out the door into the wild.

Vast and dominant, it looms over the beauty which beckons the heart and soul, daring the brave who wish to enter the sanctuary of wood and stream, glen and crag.

There is something which intimidates and defeats, which cripples and discourages. Even the seasoned backpacker who is armed with profound skill might in a moment collapse into discouraged retreat. Rather than forge into the green, they will pack up and head for home, tail between their legs. Rather than return to the world with wondrous stories and rich memories, they bear the shame of having given up to a simple and pervasive enemy which will haunt them for their lack of fortitude.

Countless expeditions and numerous souls who might otherwise push hesitancy aside lose all sense and intention when faced with this one, single, seemingly-mighty barrier.

wrangell-1721526_1920Should you be among those with the will and ability to endure this demon, you will find it accompanies you the entire length of your woodland sojourn. It will gawk at you across the fireside and pester you as you walk the miles.

Nevertheless, this creature which plagues the wilderness is deserving of existence. For it is the guardian and force which prevents lesser prepared travelers from crossing the boundary into the mystic mist of remote lands.

Should you be among the few who can tolerate its company, you will find that it does not disempower or distract you from the joy to be found in walking wild places. In fact, this jinn obstructs lesser souls, but nourishes those wise to the gift it can bring.

What is this force; this barrier? Simply this…

the unknown!

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Filed under Appalachian Trail, Apprehension, Backpacking, Courage, Fear, Hiking, Journey, nature, The Appalachian Trail, Walking

How old is too old to thru-hike the A.T.? The Grey Bear Adventurer has your answer!

Dale on the Trail – The Oldest Man to Ever Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail 2017 from Adventureitus Productions on Vimeo.

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Filed under A.T., Adventure, aging, Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, Courage, Hiking, outdoors, seniors

Snow Foolin’ — Stranded in a snow storm – Part 1

Flashback Sunday: though winter is “officially” over, I’m reminded how fickle and unpredictable it can be!

Write in Front of Me

English: Photographer: HanumanIX

As I mounted the North flank of Jay Peak in Vermont it became plain that I was going to be snowed in.  During my climb ponderous clouds unleashed snowfall.  The wind lashed ice pellets at my face with shotgun blast intensity.  My breathing was strained, my hands were losing sensitivity, and my field of vision was diminished to mere feet.

I knew the crest was within reach in about ten more minutes of hiking.  Even so, I knew that if conditions continued to worsen at the rate I observed them, the trail would become concealed in a torrent of white and I would be stumbling for direction in a blizzard.  Instantly I knew what it felt like to be apprehended by a blizzard without reference points.

I fished my compass from my pocket and formed my best calculation, slogging forward through drifts of snow which threatened to bury the way…

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Filed under Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, Courage, Decision making, Hiking, Hiking in snow, Living, outdoors, risk, snow storms, Writing

Long Distance Hiking: Mental Preparedness

The Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Ten...

The Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Increasing the Chances of Finishing Your Long Distance Hike

Lest I dig down further into the essentials of preparing logistically for a long-distance hike, I feel compelled to back up and share what, in my opinion, is the prime essential determiner which increases the likelihood of a successful hike along the Appalachian (or any!) Trail – developing mental preparedness.

For an in-depth read about this topic, please see: Long Distance Hiking: Mental Preparedness

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Filed under A.T., Achievements, Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Apprehension, Backpacking, Courage, Decision making, Earl Shaffer, Fear of heights, Focus on goals, Foot travel, Hiking, Life changes, Long distance backpacking, Outdoor safety, Outdoor skills, Outdoor sports, The Appalachian Trail, Timothy J. Hodges

Appalachian Trail Lessons: Of reading, planning, and logistics

A pathway into the wilderness.

ORIGIN

It began with Ed Garvey’s book “Appalachian Hiker II,” which I discovered at a backpacking outfitter.  I read it to enjoy a first-person account of walking the legendary footpath which runs from Georgia to Maine.  I didn’t realize I would find myself tracing Ed’s footsteps just over a year later.

Finishing my read, I considered what sort of preparation it must take to complete  the 2,000-mile trip.  Curious to find out, I purchased one in a series of Appalachian Trail Conference guidebooks.  The “North Carolina/Tennessee” guide came with colorful but serious topographic maps.  The chapters showed mileage, road crossings, resupply info, reliable water sources, local history, as well as the flora and fauna a hiker might expect to see.  This was intensive logistical and planning material!  I was amazed by the necessity of planning and preparation required of anyone heading out to hike.  Walking the Appalachian Trail would not be a matter of simply shouldering a pack and hitching a ride to the trailhead.  A successful hike meant planning and answering a lot of questions:

  • how much money would it take to hike the entire Trail?
  • how far could one expect to hike in a given day?
  • what sort of food would a hiker need to eat to sustain their energy?
  • what physical preparation was required?
  • what risks/dangers were involved?
  • what if it rains? snows?
  • how much weight could a hiker carry?
  • how big should a pack be?

The list of considerations seemed endless, and overwhelming at times.  Priorities would need to be set.  Decisions weighed.  As if on autopilot, I found myself awash in the details involved in making preparations, which was where my own personal journey on the A.T. began.

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Filed under A.T., Achievements, Anxiety, Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Backpacking, Climbing, Competitiveness, Consequences, Courage, Decision making, Earl Shaffer, Fear of falling, Fear of heights, Foot travel, Goals, Hiking, Life changes, Living, The Appalachian Trail