Two weekends ago I did an overnight hike with my friend, Greg Outdoors. When I heard the route, I first thought he was trying to kill me. The next day I was sure of it. We did a loop around the famous Mount Mitchell, the highest peak this side of the Mississippi. We went through multiple trails, sloshed through wet spots, plowed through over-growth. The next day we made a killer 600-800 climb to the Crest Trail…it almost killed up both. Sweating and panting we stopped to breathe and it was gorgeous. So I learned a few things while on the trail:
I (and you) can do anything we decide to do. I kept up. I pushed on. I made all the trail. I wasn’t really concerned about finishing but I was concerned about how well I would finish and how I would feel after the hike. I survived and did well. You will, too.
Ultra-lite is nice but adequate gear is better. My pack was at 20lbs. That really didn’t bother me at all. I had a nice light pack (Golite). Most people would tell me not to bring a fleece, thermals, 2 pairs of socks and underwear, or 2 shirts. I did and was happy I did. I put on clean, dry clothes in my tent the next morning and felt better…and warm. I added my fleece as it was 50 degrees 5200 feet up above sea-level. Warm clothes and warm coffee energized me. You can carry less and that’s fine for you. I hike my own hike…and bring extra underwear.
Pooping in the woods is not traumatic if you have nice scenery. I have nothing to add to this.
This experience is worth it. The hike is worth the doing. The summit is worth the climb. The breeze is worth the sweat. The finish is worth all the effort. You feel better, feel alive, and you are thankful once again for the small things in life (cold water, warm food, a cushioned seat, and air conditioning). The work and the solitude from “the Matrix” will energize you.
The wilderness is therapy. The hike can be therapeutic. You can be quiet and think. You can get away from technology and demands. You can put down the phone and experience the moment. We rush through life missing the small things.
Go find them.