Three weeks and three days from now, I get on a plane to Atlanta to start my six month journey. All of a sudden, it’s real!
I have all my gear. I was worried about being cold at night, so I’m taking extra clothes and a sleeping bag liner to take care of that. I’ve decided that a couple of pounds of extras, at least at the beginning, is a worthy tradeoff for comfort and convenience.
I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I feel prepared, but there is a lot unknown out there for this new hiker. This is unlike anything I’ve ever attempted in my life. It is physical, but the mental aspects will ultimately be the greater challenge. How will I handle days of rain and mud? Cold nights and wet clothes? The unending ups and downs of the trail, on tired feet?
And really, that is what it’s all about, right? If it were easy, success would not be so sweet. I KNOW I will come back a different person. I have six months of self talk, dealing with me, the wilderness, and God. Fantastic!
God and I will have long conversations. “Seek and you shall find…” will be my mantra. I have plenty of joys in my life, and I DO feel blessed. Yet, do we need all the grief and pain in life, the cancers, disabled children, failures to make the joys more poignant? I’m sure my faith will be tested; I expect to return a stronger person for it.