So last year was pretty awesome on the AT. Buuut! I got sorta stressed by some things. Actually, really two main things. I had a deadline (brother’s wedding) and it turns out I am not a super speedy hiker. Like, maxing out at 2mph (mayyyybe closer to 3 on a roadwalk). I met my deadline with skipping about 40 miles total in Maine (I *probably* could have done it without, but I didn’t want to be doing multiple 14 hour days in the rain at the very end. HYOH?) Luckily I have in general good endurance. I didn’t have any pain/injury issues, probably due largely to my low baseweight (~8.5lbs last year). I would have to hike all day though, and sometimes I really just wanted to smell the roses and lie on the dirt and look at the clouds or canopy cover for an hour or two, ya know? Also this meant rolling into camp on average around 7pm (later on big days, such as the week I went from Delaware Water Gap to Bear Mountain, NY in 5 days + 7 mile nearo out. ALTHOUGH this meant I pioneered the SuperAwesome technique of #cellphonenighthike as I lost my headlamp months earlier in Marion VA).
Because I was on a little bit faster than average thru (4.5 months) I was around some stronger hikers. It was cool being on pace with these guys. But it DID often suck to be passed by Every.Single.Person. on the trail, day after day, only catching up with people if I took only super short breaks (we’re talking maybe 5 minutes every 2 hrs, and then 15-20 minutes tops for lunch, on a 10-12 hr day). I never really felt tired but it was a drag how easy it seemed for everyone else.
This gets to my #1 problem in my life: Not Measuring Up. So I decided to give myself just a little structure to work on this during the hike and have an even better time than on the AT.
Rule #1: Do not make any concrete plans for What I’m Doing With The Rest Of My Life until after the hike is over
This is very key this week, as I spent time in Philly and things happened such as: groups I used to play with and had a weird break-up with now seem enthusiastic to have me play again; my friends and colleagues including those who moved out have moved back and become quasi-adults who not only are better musicians with reasonable maturity levels and less sketchy housing situations, but know how to do things like get giant grants for all the weirdo music we do; a job I turned down right when I left Philly just became available TODAY; lots of acupuncture jobs are available in the next state over. It could be really good timing to move back now, but I am committed to giving the PCT a fair shake. I also have this tendency to do so much planning which has allowed me to do a lot of awesome $hit for really cheap, but I think it limits my openness for even more awesome opportunities at times.
Rule #2: There is no fixed end date.
Period. I don’t want that stress on myself like last year. I am going to take zeros whenever the hell I want, walk when I want. This also has some subrules like Don’t Make My Hiking Pace Uncomfortable Just To Meet Up With People Unless I Truly Feel Like It and also Don’t Zero Just Because Everyone Else Is.
Rule #3: More food flexibility
I still want to stick to last year’s rule of GF/Paleo on trail and eat whatever I want for trail magic/towns, as this worked well for me. However, this year I didn’t dehydrate, and I don’t have someone to mail me stuff. I’m going to mail myself the first month or so (I got some crazy deals on various things) but not figure things out until after then. Hell, who even knows what will happen in the Sierras? I’m optimistic they will be tough but passable, but really it’s all up in the air.
Rule #4: Be flexible with route
This means flip-flopping, reroutes and even quitting and hiking something else like the CT are all on the table. Safety is the main thing with all the snow this year.
Rule #5: I am allowed to quit no-cook
I decided to try no-cook but I’m not a wuss if I give it up. Because I wrote it here. So there.
Rule #6: Write whatever I want, but do it daily
I don’t know if I’m doing a prose-kinda blog or doing haikus. I like haikus. They are super low-stress. 17 syllables. I never wrote haikus before, usually I write free-form if anything (though I DID get obsessed with cinquain poems when I was like, 8, and wonder what happened to the little book I wrote back then).
On the other hand prose is probably more interesting to most people and everyone is telling me that I should write a book. Prose is easier to relate the wacko things going on inside my brain and rando situations I seem to get myself into. PS! Did you know rando is actually a word in the English language? For serious. Look it up.
Anyway last year I DID want to write more of a traditional blog but my pace kinda counteracted that. So hiking a LITTLE bit slower will hopefully give me some more break time during the day to get something jotted down.
Rule #7 No other rules
I guess I like a little bit of structure because most of my rules are about not making rules.
Okay, time to vote about how OCD I am Y/N haha