Tomorrow I will take off on my next great adventure. Tank will reunite with her friends Choir Girl, Blue Sky and Duct Tape. We will have two more women along with us and one is a friend of mine from GA. We’re going to tackle the southern half of the Shenandoah Forest. Again, we’re all leaving the guys at home. I think that most of them are grateful they don’t have to come along!
Tonight, as I weigh my pack (24 lbs without food and water) and get my little packets of oatmeal and beef jerky ready for the walk, I’m turning introspective about this crazy little trip. Why do I do it? Why is this fun for me? What do I get out of it?
Here is my stream-of-consciousness list of reasons why I hike:
- It’s an adventure
- It tests my limits – physically and mentally
- It’s spiritual, spending that much time so deep in the woods
- There are really great stories to tell when I get home (it makes me a more interesting guest at cocktail parties?)
- There’s something gratifying about knowing that I can support myself completely. That I’m capable of carrying everything I need to wander into the wilderness and survive.
- It’s grounding
- It’s more than grounding. It’s dirty, sweaty, buggy, itchy, stinky reality. It’s everything our ancestor’s lives were and everything that our lives of air conditioning and motor vehicles and long, hot showers are not.
- I get to see the country up-close
- I get to meet hikers I’d never have a chance to meet off the trail
- Participating in something bigger than myself by becoming a part of the Appalachian Trail’s story
- The views
- Totally unplugging is one of the best ways to truly relax
This is why I hike. It brings me back into myself – fully, completely, eloquently.