Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Wait.....fat girls hike? (Part one)
I have this dream. A goal that I am determined to accomplish. I mostly likely won't complete the goal by the time I'm 40, but I am aiming to have begun by the time I turn 40. Anytime I tell people what my "dream goal" is, I'm met with a polite but skeptical sliver of a smile. It seems impossible for someone at my current size, with health issues and a decent amount of metal in my lower spine. But nonetheless here it is:
The Triple Crown of Hikes.
It has been a long time fantasy of mine to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail...all 2,180 miles of it. As I began to move from dreaming about this feat to actually thinking I just might be able to do it, I mentioned it to a few people. While my darling husband was supportive and more than willing to train with me once I was physically able, most people just looked at me through glassed over gazes and stifled their laughter. I could see it written on their faces, the words they wouldn't dare say to my face "Wait....fat girls hike?"
At first I was a bit discouraged. Was I kidding myself into thinking I could do this? And then that discouragement turned into determination. I don't have to wait until I look like the fit women in the magazines. I don't have to put it off until others won't laugh at me for trying. It is ok to be that fat girl on the trail, out of breath and slowly chugging along, gravel and dirt crunching beneath my feet as my body drips with sweat. I know I'll get those looks...disgust, pity and even jokes about me...but I don't have to care. What I'm seeing at the end of my trek is that I'm one hike closer to my goal.
The more I thought about the 6 month journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail in on go, the more I thought about how much I don't think I would want to stop there. Not only do I want to prove to myself that I can do it, I wanted to prove to the world that a former athlete, who gained 100 pounds, had major spine surgery and had to relearn how to do the simplest of tasks on her own, could strap on a pair of hiking boots, load up a heavy backpack and hike until her lungs burned, high into the mountains, down into valleys and reach a physical goal. My body is not dead. My body is not broken. My body has been altered, but it is still far more capable than even I tend to give credit for.
But why stop at the AT? So I decided it wouldn't be just the Appalachian Trail. I want to hike the Continental Divide Trail (3100 miles) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles) as well. Together these three long-distance trails make up that Triple Crown. It might seem impossible, but I'm going to do it. One day I will have completed them all and I will prove to myself that my body is capable of more than I ever imagined it could be again. I will no longer be a "former athlete" I will be a Long-distance Hiker, a Tru-hiker, a Triple Crown Hiker.