There 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.
Should 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…