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[cdt-l] CDT Planning - Fears and Expectations




So far this series has been mostly the “mechanical” part of the hike (and 
there’s more of that to come).  But, at least for us, there’s more to it 
than that. We look at a thruhike as a learning/growing experience.  So this 
is closer to the ‘head trip’ that we normally write about.  Ginny wrote this 
about a month before we started our CDT thruhike.  Some of you might want to 
consider the questions that it raises - particularly since so much of what 
she wrote became a part of our trail reality.

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FEARS AND EXPECTATIONS

What do you expect out of your thruhike?  What do you hope? What do you 
fear?  No matter how much research you do ahead of time, reality is always 
different from expectations.

For fun - consider what your expectations are for the trail.
Best hopes - worst fears.  These were some of mine:

Growth - learning - serenity
Ability to go back to being happy with myself - with Life.
Lose some of the cynicism.
Growing closer to Jim - fear of getting too close too.  Will I bore him?
Irritate him?  It's a lot of togetherness.
Total immersion in nature - time to sit on a mountain peak and stare across 
the ridges, across the plains, time to watch the sky, the clouds, the stars.

Happiness.
Fear that the push for miles will not allow enough play time.
New experiences with animals - grizzlies, elk, moose, etc. That always gives 
me joy.
Moments of joy - moments of peace.
Closeness to God - time to pray.

I don't really expect much in the way of contact with people.  Possible
conflict with locals - some trail magic maybe, mostly indifference I think.
The lack of other hikers will be different.  Good in many ways, but there 
won't be the kind of comradery we knew on the AT.

Fear of not being physically and emotionally strong enough.  Can I do long 
miles, day after day, without breaking down?  What if it gets to be sheer 
drudgery?
Fear that Jim is not strong enough.
Will one of us get injured?  What if we get sick? If one is injured, what 
then?
Separation?  Could we?  Would we? Could I watch him go on without me?  Could 
I hike alone without him?  Could I abandon the hike after waiting so long?

Hope of getting strong again - getting my body back.  Dancing across the
rocks.  (Also crawling across the talus fields.)
I know we'll get tired of our food - and at the same time, we'll always be 
hungry.
Weather - I hate cold and wet, but we're likely to run into a lot of that.

We'll learn to read maps better, read the land, learn to flow with the land.
Hopefully we'll get back our ability to know what matters, and what really 
isn't important.
Flexibility - most important gift of the trail.
Self reliance - we can do it.
Growth as outdoors people and as individuals.  Going to trail graduate 
school.
Life reduced to the basics - this moment, this day, this mountain.  One
minute at a time.
Fear - getting caught in a thunderstorm, a blizzard, face to face with a 
grizzly or a mountain lion.

After trail fears - where will we go?  How will we live?  Can we go back to 
"normal" life?

What we have been told about the CDT: Expect to get lost, a lot.  Expect
bad weather, year around.  You need to be flexible.  It is hard.  You
won't see anyone out there.  Those who have hiked it don't seem to have the 
same kind of love for the trail that AT hikers have - except Jim Wolf.  Is 
that just because it is so hard?  The trail is a trial.

I romanticize thruhiking, nature, the mountains, etc. It is one aspect of 
life, it isn't life itself.  Or is it?

I want to be able to say, "I walked here all the way from Canada." Even
more, I want to go back to our friends and say, "We did it."  Not ego – but 
pride.

We could lose our lives over this.  Is it worth it?  It is only six
months. But what a six months.


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