Watching them post updates from the trail only adds fuel to the fire. But there is also a dose of reality that comes with starting later because while you see tons of folks having a great time on the trail, you also see a few that quit early on. You read the statistics of course (10% quit at Neels Gap, blah blah blah), but when you actually see people, that you know were excited to hike, quit in the first 30-100 miles, it's a sobering look at the challenge ahead.
I don't know what it will be like out there for me. I know what the trail is like, I live in a trail town and share a home with a thru-hiker, but the unknown element is me. I don't know what I will be like when I finally set foot on the trail, knowing that it will be my home for 6 months.
So, I'll do all that any one person can do. I'll take it one day at a time and try to see the good wherever I can. The bad isn't avoidable, but the good can be under-appreciated and that is something I do want to avoid. I recently came across a quote that I love.
“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.”
This just feels wildly appropriate for a thru-hike. Of course there is amazing joy and excitement that comes with each goal, Katahdin being the ultimate, but I'm hoping to find happiness in the small things too. I want to really appreciate each day and all of the sights between today and the next goal.
So with that said, I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Congrats to everyone who is already out there living their hiking dream and good luck to everyone who is counting down the days 'til theirs begins. The time is finally nearing - three weeks!