Long-distance Hiking: The Why

There isn't any profound answer.

I am called, from a very deep and guttural place to go to our forests, mountains and wild places. They're dwindling. I ache to be in them, to sleep with them and hear them speak..

When I was young, my mother gifted me a book called My Side of the Mountain. It's a story about a young boy who escapes from his cramped city life to old ancestral home land in the Catskill mountains of New York. This book became my bible... everyday I read and reread my favorite parts. Him making acorn flour pancakes, eating cat tail tubers, stealing downed deer from hunters. Making friends with animals and getting to know places in the woods. 

I was so inspired by this story and having dug out the massive atlas of North Carolina (where I was living at the time) I began to actually map out a route where I would find my way into the Smoky Mountains and I would live like the boy in that story. I was very serious about this. I planned it out very well, or as well as any silly 12 year old could.

My mother found out and naturally, lost her shit over it. Book in the trash, atlas in the trash, dreams crushed.

Many years later, when I was about 27 - my mother gifted me a copy of the book for Christmas and said she was sorry. I didn't hold any grudges of course, she was only doing her motherly duties of keeping me from making a dangerous mistake.

That book planted the seed alright though. I longed for time spent in the woods. Somehow at that young age, I had no clue that just near by was the famed Appalachian Trail. It wouldn't be till about a year and a half ago that I heard of thruhikers, discovered trail blogs and journals and the whole culture that surrounded such an endeavour. 

It seemed absolutely impossible for me to even do. I own a business that needs me. I have rent to pay, shit to do, obligations... fears to tend to.

I realized that... after years of building a business from absolutely nothing (well, food stamps) that actually doing that thing was indeed possible. The only thing holding me back was fear and whether or not I wanted to take risks and make the maneuvers needed in making it happen in my life. To disrupt my carefully built world and kind of de-construct it and forceably wipe the slate clean in a way.

I kind of think of this endeavour as a reset button that will eventually lead to the flipping of switches within myself.

Maybe I won't find anything. 

Maybe I'll find everything.

I suppose I'll find out when I find out.