AT Happiness: Changes
Bill Bryson has probably written the most famous book about hiking the Appalachian Trail. However it’s a terrible book to read if you are considering a thru-hike. He is writing for comic effect and so he over emphasizes the negatives and makes hiking the trail seem awful. What he really misses though is the transformational power of adventure. A challenge like thru-hiking the AT absolutely changes you.
The real question before coming out here was how would it change me? Happily my thru-hike continues, so the question remains open. However, I have noticed a few things.
Several people have remarked about how relaxed I look in pictures. My blood pressure is down, I’ve lost a little weight and I feel great. However, in the last few days I’ve noticed a particular change. I’m generally a person who is very much in his own head, as such, I’m often startled by someone coming up behind me. I’m particularly reactive if someone approaches me while sleeping.
Over the last couple of days three things have happened. First, a fellow hiker tapped me awake while I was sleeping. Second, a hiker quietly walked up behind me amd called out my name. Finally, in the wind the other day, a branch fell and hit me in the shoulder. All of these things would have ordinarily sent me off my feet and startled the hell out of me.
But, I barely reacted at all, walking the trail seems to have both relaxed and really mellowed me out. I can’t wait to see what other changes the trail brings as I walk more happy days my friends. – Rev Kane