We’ll See

I have a secret.  I am scared.  As the countdown to Springer shrinks, I find the dream becoming reality.  With all the excitement also comes fear.  My longest backpacking trip was only 6 days.  What will I think about backpacking for 5 months?  What if my food is stolen by a bear?  What if I twist my ankle?  What if it rains for 5 days straight?

Previous thru-hikers have told me over and over again:   “The hardest part about the Appalachian Trail is not physical.. it’s mental”.   I have a 1-way ticket on a mental roller-coaster.   I hope that I’m ready.


My mediation teacher shared this tale with me.  I will remember this grounded farmer when the trail gets rough.

A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!”  The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to tame one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” 

A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

No event, in and of itself, can truly be judged as good or bad, lucky or unlucky, fortunate or unfortunate.  Only time will tell the whole story.   Look hard for the silver lining in the storm.  Yes. Bad things will happen. I hope I have the willpower to wipe away tears, smile and say “We’ll See”.

Categories: Pre-Hike | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “We’ll See

  1. Acorn – I am scared too. Really scared. But I am going to take one day at a time and I know that once I get out there, I will be fine. There will be good days and bad days and that is just life. Let’s stay in touch while we are on our respective trails so we can encourage one another – we are going to need all the encouragement we can get.

  2. Acorn, I think fear of the unknown (and making your vocation backpacking certainly qualifies) is a natural occurrence and should be embraced. I think one of the luxuries we as women have, is that we can cry without fearing that our “image” suffers; something most men simply cannot do. So be prepared to cry, from joy, from despair, from foot pain, from hunger, and yes from boredom. But we are all strong enough (yes, YOU too) to persevere before, during, and after the tears. Just read Appalachian Trials again and let’s just get out there!

  3. Aww… I love my hiking sisters ❤

  4. I love the farmer story. It is so true. I’m scared too, but the great thing is that we’ll all be able to experience the ups and downs together along the trail 🙂

  5. I’m scared, too! But you’ll rock the house. 🙂

  6. What will I think about backpacking for 5 months? – Nothing that is on the news. What if my food is stolen by a bear? you will hike into town and purchase more food (don’t keep your credit card in your food bag). What if I twist my ankle? You will hobble a lot and your feet will hurt so much you won’t even notice the pain in your ankle. What if it rains for 5 days straight? you will get wet and very stinky (basically the same feeling you will have after sweating through 5 days of hiking in the muggy heat of summer) . You will make so many friends and acquaintances on the trail who will support you in your time of need and you will for them. After two weeks you will have it all figured out……so to put it in perspective you are going out on a couple of 6 day hikes,….after that it is all repetition. You can do it. I look forward to following your blog, I’m so excited for you

  7. strollingwolf

    remember your own opinion over and over again, do it firmly in your head, not only yet the whole trail:

    Q: Do you really expect to make it the whole way? Of course, I’m obviously going with the goal of doing the whole thing. But a lot can happen in 5 months. I try to avoid obsessing about Maine and try to concentrate my energy on 5-day sections instead. Baby steps will get you there. But a 6 year old has completed the hike. A 12 year old girl just hiked in 2012. A blind man has hiked it. 80 year olds have hiked it. (You get the point). It is “just walking”… but it’s so much more than that too. I’m honestly more scared about the psychological part of the trail more than anything else. It’s a roller-coaster.

    great blog, I like your writing style and the parabolas wish you much success in your hike

  8. walkingloon

    Every time I get scared or apprehensive about this upcoming journey, I just take a little time out and focus on the positives and I love to watch youtube videos of hikers and their gorgeous pictures and it makes my heart race with excitement of all I’m going to see. As each day nears, the reality of not seeing my husband and son for 5-6 months is setting in. I will miss them, but we will make it through just as we have done before and I will carry them in my heart every day. Oh, the stories we’ll have to tell…it’s going to be great!

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