For my 2019 writing challenge and in preparation for the Pacific Crest Trail in 2020, I am spending the entire year reading and writing about books focused on a journey. For my fourth book, I dove into “Wild by Nature” by Sarah Marquis.
I should know better. As I prepare for a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, I’ve given a great deal of thought to being physically and financially prepared. I haven’t given much thought to being mentally prepared for the grind of walking 2,650 miles. I should know better. I should know that repetitive activity and I have never gotten along. I should know I can easily get bored. I should know when things get too physically demanding I tend to quit. I should know these things about myself, but while prepping I forgot. After reading this book, these things are now at the forefront of my mind!
Embracing the Suck
This book talks a lot about embracing the suck; which is a term you hear often in the hiking community. Pictures and videos are misleading or are only telling part of the story. Hiking is filled with moments that suck: inclines that never quit, heat, extreme cold, restless nights, lack of water, and carrying everything you need on your back. These aren’t moments shared on Instagram, but they matter and should be relished. It is these moments that deliver you to an amazing vista or some other moment you will hold forever.
When Failure Becomes an Option
At some point in this five-month journey, quitting and failure will become an option. The vast majority of people who begin a thru-hike will not finish. Finances, health, the real world, or the physical nature of the trail will force them to make a choice. A majority will choose to return to reality and give up on the dream. To combat this, this book suggests using the power of lists to overcome the temptation. In the next couple of weeks, I am going to do exactly that. When I am through with the exercise, I will know exactly why I am doing this and what I will think of myself if I don’t finish.
Enjoying the Experience
Over the course of our lives, we will meet countless people with a dream. For many, that dream will go unrealized. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is just one of my dreams. The good days and the bad are all a part of an experience I have been fathoming for the better part of a decade. In April of next year, that dream comes true for me. As it does, I plan to cherish every moment of the experience. Everyone dreams, but not everyone lives out those dreams. I cannot wait to be counted as someone who does.
Be good to each other,
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