With a 4,700 mile hike looming I sit and reflect on a mindset I held close in trips of the past.
Much to the dismay of my employer, I’ve taken a whole lot of vacations over the last three years.
With every trip I have a sub goal, beyond enjoying myself and relaxing in the outdoors… of learning something! With every hike I come back more experienced, with the knowledge, and practice that can only come from getting out there. With every hike I take a minute to focus on and think about my gear, or my technique. With every hike I’ve learned from my mistakes. A constant consideration to how I’m walking or handling different situations. A constant consideration as to how I can be a more effective and efficient backpacker.
This is something serious runners do far more than backpackers, from what I’ve noticed. They focus on their stride, foot placement, nutrition, everything beyond, and in between. It’s a mindset to certainly consider and learn from. A mindset I don’t see in many hikers. It’s no wonder why, walking is easy, isn’t it? Not really. Especially not so much when you’re walking 20 to 30 miles a day, everyday.
Train smart not hard, as they say. Or both, whatever suits you.
As someone who is always striving to improve any way I can, this is how I do things. I will mention that thousands of folks don’t do this, and they’re totally fine, and finish that thru hike. Then again a lot don’t.(Only 20-30% complete the AT each year. About 1 in 5.)
This is my last real training run
So here goes! One last serious shake down before my thru hike.
Although I run, hike, and backpack with great frequency this will be the last time I’ll be out with my pack for more than 3 days at a time before I fly to Quebec to begin my long walk back to Florida.
I’m heading up to North Florida to meet up with my good friend Longwalker to get in some much needed time off from work, and to hit one of Florida’s most beautiful sections of trail. The Suwannee River section of the FNST.
We have planned 91 miles over 5 days. A very leisurely pace of 18 miles per day.
I’m very tempted to go further in that time, but I mostly just want to relax and get away from work just once more! So I’ll be using this trip as an opportunity to take out my ECT rig(my backpack fully loaded,) and enjoy north Florida in all its glory.
There’s something special to me about knowing I’ll be at this section again come November, on my journey south to the Keys.
Only 3 and a half months until my thru hike begins.
Photos of the Suwannee River courtesy of my Florida hiking buddy Longwalker
For more photos and info on this section check out Floridahikes