Not This Spring

Putting off the dream of thru-hiking for at least another year

It's early March and the thru-hikers are flocking to the Appalachian Trail, and once again - for yet another spring - I can't help but be jealous of them. People post in Facebook groups and forum threads that I follow: some with trepidation before their journey, some with elation over some discovery, and some desperate for an ounce of encouragement after confronting setbacks or difficulty or fear.

I long to be a thru-hiker: to live a summer as a dirty vagabond on the trail. I long for the experiences that I only get to sample as a weekend hiker and backpacker, and I long for the promised transformations - of getting the body of a goddess with lean, powerful muscles, and the mind of a goddess with 2000 miles to think my way to enlightenment.

But it's just spring, and I crawl back into my office and hope the spring fever will pass, or maybe I'll treat the symptoms with a short backpacking trip over a long weekend. (Hint: I'll definitely be treating my symptoms next week.) I'll follow other hikers' journeys, live precariously through their adventures, and battle on as a weekend warrior. One day I'll join the great migration through rugged mountain terrain. One day, but not this spring.


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