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[pct-l] PCT 95% mental?

I agree that doing a thru-hike is mostly mental, but I put the figure at
closer to 75%.  If I were a 400 pound alcoholic starting at Campo, I am not
sure a any amount of positive attitude would cure my physical problems in
time to get as far as San Jancinto.  But most thru-hikers start out
reasonably fit and need to hike at least three weeks to get into good
thru-hiking shape.  The time needed to reach that point varies greatly, I
imagine.  It took me 600 miles and nearly one month to get there on my
thru-hike in '96.

My guess is that most physical problems can be prevented.  To avoid
injuries, I suggest listening to your mind, and thinking things through
before little problems turn into bigger problems.  As in most things in
life, moderation is a good way to avoid physical problems.  In '96 on my
thru-hike I arrived in Idyllwild very dehydrated.  So I spent 24 hours in
town getting re-hydrated, and I felt 100% better back on the trail the next
day.  But had I moderated my hiking style before I got to Idyllwild, and
taken care of my need for hydration earlier, I might have avoided the
problem all together.  Of course, it may seem inappropriate to use the words
"moderation" and "thru-hike" in the same paragraph!  But I am sure you get
the idea.

Later in my journey I suffered two bouts of tendonitus, same muscle, but on
different legs each time.  The first bout was caused by carrying too much
water too fast on the hot, dry Hat Creek Rim.  Drinking more and hiking less
rigorously might have avoided the injury.  The second injury was caused by
incorrectly lacing my shoes and hiking about 75 miles with sloppy footing.
A mental mistake caused another injury!  For a centered thru-hiker whose
mind & body are totally integrated, every rest stop, every drink of water,
every meal, perhaps every step is the result of the mind responding to what
the body is telling him or her.  If you stop listening and thinking, bad
things happen!

Roger Carpenter

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