Losing Steam

The title says it all.  I am losing steam…

I have read Zach Davis’s book “Appalachian Trials” at least four or five times now.  (You’ve read it, too, haven’t you?  Check out my review here!)  I have made my “Lists”.  But never did I think I would be actually USING THEM before my hike even started!

I have hit a wall with my training – not that I am “trained”, and certainly not in shape (round is still a shape, right?), but that I am finding my daily walks to be monotonous and not enjoyable.  I think of this as my “Virginia Blues”… except I’m in Maryland.  The weather is changing, and hunting season is approaching, so I’m not real comfortable hiking the mountain trails.  And with all the rain we have had, plus the earlier sunset times, my road walks are becoming… well, dreary.

I have also grown tired of the constant reading and research about the A.T.  I know, I know, but I feel like I’m in a college class that just won’t end.  So I have started to slip non-hiking reading material into the rotation, and that has helped some.  But I am still feeling a little “burned out” with the information overload.

And let’s not even get into the financial stress that has already begun.  Acquiring equipment.  Stocking items for resupply.  Preparing to pack my life into boxes (anyone have spare boxes?!).  All while trying to maintain a lifestyle and not be a complete hermit.  Yes, I am stressed about the money…  To make matters worse, of the dozen or so sponsorship requests I have sent out, I have been denied a dozen or so times.  Only one offered me a “Pro Deal”, which equates to about a 50% discount from retail.  But it’s a food item that I probably won’t be buying lots and lots of.  Finances have always been a drag to me, and this project has been no different…

I think a large portion of my blues are from my inability to talk about it to too many people.  I am trying to keep it quiet at work, so as to not incur any retribution from management.  I haven’t made all notifications, so I can’t talk about it with the bike club or some of my other friends yet.  And while my parents know, they are four states away, so it doesn’t come up in conversation as often as it would if they saw the pile of gear in my living room regularly.  I am sure things will settle out in this area as I am able to talk through my fears and frustrations more and more.  As the great Vince Lombardi once said, “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”  And I will do my best to be better than I have been.

On a very positive note, my dad has expressed an interest to hike with me for a few days somewhere in the middle of my trip.  I cannot tell you how exciting that is to me!  When I first started backpacking, over 20 years ago, he was my hiking partner.  It wasn’t about the trail or the views we shared, but rather the quick conversations that occurred at that overlook, the end-of-the-day conversations as we set up camp and got ready for bed, and certainly the shared stories all these years later.  I have already started to look at the guidebook to figure out the best place for him to join me that is somewhat close to a campground for mom to hang out at.  My maps are ordered, and we will be talking more logistics when I go home for Christmas.

I am hoping I can regain some of my enthusiasm for this trip soon.  I am planning a weekend hike – most likely just an out-and-back trip, but enough to test my tent for a night or two, figure out what works and doesn’t work for my kitchen kit, and hopefully renew my desire to do something other than sit on the couch.  I will be sure to post about that after it happens.

If you have any comments, advice, or ANY TOPIC SUGGESTIONS, please use the comment box below or use the Contact Me page up top.

Until next time, remember to “Spin the Compass.”


One thought on “Losing Steam”

  1. Great post. It’s hard to stay the course and remain motivated when next year’s hike seems so far off. I think you’ve made the right call by working some non-hiking literature into the mix. People step onto the trail at all levels of preparedness, and my guess is you’ll be in pretty good shape, both physically and with what you know. Putting so much work in now will pay off.

    I’m also anxious about the financial side of things. Every time I grab convenience foods out, which is often, I kick myself. $7 here, $10 there… it adds up and makes me wonder if I’ll have anything left after I (hopefully) finish the hike. All we can do is our best, though!

    Happy hiking.

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