I’m very fond of ‘do-overs’ and ‘clean slates’. It’s probably because I make so many mistakes. Unfortunately, I learn my best lessons by making a mistake and learning from it. That is why I love the above quote from, “Anne of Green Gables,” by L.M. Montgomery.
We could all learn some valuable lessons from Anne. The most important take-away from that quote (in my humble opinion) is to learn from your mistakes, but leave them in the past. Press forward with the new day and try to do better.
Since I made a lot of mistakes on my last hike (and I’m fortunate to have another shot at it) I’ve been reviewing all of the things I did wrong on my 2016 hike, but most importantly, planning what I will do differently this time. I’m hoping that maybe other hikers who might read my blog might be able to learn from my mistakes rather than repeating them. It will also help me to put it in writing and immortalize it on my blog.
What I’m Going to do Differently on my Upcoming Hike
Start my hike earlier. -I started hiking March 31 last time. I am going to start at least a good two weeks earlier this time. Though it’s possible I might have been able to finish my hike before they closed Mt. Katahdin on Oct. 15, 2016, I felt the stress of the impending close-date as my days on the trail increased. This time, I want to give myself plenty of time so that if my body starts breaking down, I’ll have more time to take more zeroes if I need them.
Take fewer zeroes in the beginning. – Early in the game, I took ‘neroes’ and then I would take a zero the next day after that. Most of the time, the second day felt like a waste and I didn’t really need it.
Pace myself better.- In the beginning, I was in great shape. I had been training for 6 months. Because of that, I was in better shape, and could do more than most people at the beginning of my hike. If I wasn’t tired when I reached my designated shelter, I would press on. I think I should have stopped and not pushed myself to the brink.
Walking slower.- I literally walk like a bat out of hell. I’ve always been a very fast walker. I think it’s because I have short legs. My strategy was that I wanted to start early, get there early, and then rest, but it really took a toll on my body.
Stop for lunch and take more breaks.– Many times I would eat my lunch while walking, or only stop 5 minutes for lunch, gobble down my lunch, and press on. This time, I’m dehydrating all of my lunches and it will require that I stop for lunch. You can’t eat out of ziplock bag while walking with trekking poles. Most people stopped at shelters to eat lunch, and I think I might make that a habit this time. That way, there is more of a chance that I can talk to other people.
Lighter Pack.– I’m working to get my backpack load lighter this time. Most of my weight last time was food. They say you pack your ‘fears’. I was most definitely afraid of running out of food. For lunch I usually had a tortilla with tuna, spam, nut butter, cheese, etc., and those things are heavy items in a hiker’s economy. Carrying dehydrated lunches will be much lighter.
Resupply boxes more frequently. – I’m going to try to have my mail drops every 3-4 days. Last time, I would sometimes carry 5-6 days worth of food. I almost always came into town with food left in my bag.
Hike with people. – Last time, I was pretty much an island unto myself. As part of my goal last time, it was important for me to do it alone, and not lean on anyone else. I mentioned many times last year that I am a ‘happy follower’, and I didn’t want to fall into that pattern on my hike. It was important last time for me to make my own decisions, plan my own schedule, etc. This time, I want find a hiking partner (or partners–sometimes, things happen, and people lose and gain partners frequently.) I would even consider hiking with a group. I think sharing a burden and going through tough times with other people can really help lift the stress and fear.
Interact with people more. I did interact with people a lot while on the trail and at shelters last time, but I want to make more of an effort this time. Toward the end, I just wanted to ‘isolate,’ get into my tent, off my feet and rest because I felt so bad. I have several ideas in mind to help me be ‘other centered’ but I’m not ready to talk about it yet. I’m kind of excited about this idea I have.
Work on my nutrition and calories. I’m adding more carbs to my meals (including beans, white and sweet potatoes, and rice. ) I’m adding more protein and veggies, too. I’m switching up my vitamins this time. I’m adding powdered butter to my oatmeal. I’m going to have olive oil (for calories) sent in my food boxes. I found a great-tasting protein powder that I am sending in my food boxes along with powdered milk for more calories and protein.
Switching to new shoes sooner. – Last time, I don’t think I switched out my shoes until around 700 miles or more. This time, I’m going to switch out my shoes about every 500 miles or so. I’m starting Georgia with a fairly new pair, and I already have three other pair waiting to be sent to me.
Send myself a parasite cleanse every month or so. I had symptoms of parasites when I came back home. I took an herbal cleanse, and I’m going to send myself these herbs about once a month. I’m also considering sending some herbs that make your body inhospitable to Lyme disease. I know some people don’t believe in herbs. After receiving so much help from herbs, I’m a believer.
Take more pictures of myself and others- I took very few pictures of myself last time because I thought I looked so bad, but when I see the few pictures I took of myself, my mind is flooded with memories–what I was thinking and feeling, events that had happened just prior to or after the picture…things I had forgotten. Pics of scenery don’t do the same thing for me. I also wish I had taken pics of friends (or acquaintances) I met. I’ve almost forgotten what they look like. Pictures of friends make me remember things about them, times we shared, etc.
On my last hike, there was a German couple that I talked to several times. I leap-frogged them both many times throughout the day, and landed at the same shelter as them for weeks. I later heard that the man died from a heart attack during a stay in a motel in town. Why didn’t I take their picture and post it on my blog? He (and his wife) were worth remembering. I will try to do better next time.
By the way–the pic below is me and my friend ‘Raid’. She picked me up from the airport, let me stay in her home, and then hiked the first section with me. What a blast we had! I will never forget her and her husband, the fun we had, nor their generosity. So what if I don’t look good. Not very many hikers look good while they are hiking. What matters is the smile on our faces and the memories we made.
HAVE FUN, and STAY IN THE MOMENT! – Last time it was one of my main goals to conquer a lot of my fears. While I can say that I certainly faced those fears, I still felt every bit of it. Fear and stress really take a toll on your body. I think a lot of the fear will be alleviated if I’m hiking with others. Also, much of the stress I felt was fear of the unknown. Since I’ve hiked most of the trail (to Andover, Maine) I know what to expect. I want to have fun this time and not get so stressed out!
HIKE UP MT. KATAHDIN, KISS THE SIGN, AND RAISE MY HANDS IN PRAISE TO GOD WHO WILL HAVE KEPT ME SAFE, AND WILL HAVE GOTTEN ME THROUGH TO THE END. – Not that I didn’t really want it last time, because I did. I felt then, and I still feel that everything happens for a reason. What happened in the past was preparation for the future. Maybe I will have a pivotal meeting with someone who will say something I wasn’t yet ready to hear and receive, or vice versa. Who knows what it could be, but I do believe God has higher purposes for the things we go through, and for whatever reason, I have the desire, and I’m being allowed to repeat this incredible journey.
Last, but not least…the awesome people at WordPress were able to help me move my subscribers to my new blog. If for any reason you don’t want to be subscribed to my new blog, you can click ‘unsubscribe’ at the bottom of your email notification for my post and that will stop your email notifications and unsubscribe you.
“I’m not a bit changed–not really. I’m only just pruned down and branched out. The real ME–back here–is just the same.”
Anne- in “Anne of Green Gables,” by L.M. Montgomery