I woke up this morning at 4:00 am to bag my dehydrated strawberries. But when I woke up this morning I felt a confidence that I felt was misplaced. I felt prepared and ready even though my legs are tired and I have a triathlon this weekend. I felt comfortable although two days ago I was broken down to laying beside my mom getting my back rubbed. And in addition to that, I thought, I am about to commit to an incredible adventure that surpasses anything I have ever done and I have no idea what I am doing.
I feel that my lack of knowledge is helping me though. I am learning how to thru-hike the Appalachian trail with no previous customs or stubborn habits. I am open to anything, a tabla rasa. Each time I go to Blue Ridge Mountain Sports I make an effort to talk to someone different than before. And I quickly realized that everyone has their own preferences and quirks. But rather than being a hard headed omniscient hiker, I am inexperienced and open to anything. I am open to hiking with only a tarp, or hiking with a four season shelter. I don’t know whether I should take a poncho or a rain jacket, sleeping bag or a quilt. Are trekking poles, gloves, glasses, or a book necessary? People are dying to lecture me on their thought and pull me into their rythm but so far I have just listened and not invested.
I guess my new found confidence is due to the feeling that I am on the right path. I have resources, I have the finances, the time, the commitment, and the guts. I have a stack of ten books that I’m working my way though, highlighting and taking quick notes on the inside cover as I go. Today I learned that if I startle a bear in the back country, stand tall, wave my arms slowly, and talk to him in a “calm but firm voice”. Oh yeah and my mom was delighted to hear that if attacked I should lay down, hands over my head, and legs spread wide to prevent the bear from rolling me over. I am supposed to protect my vital organs while he gnaws and claws at me. That’s pleasant.
I am having fun with all this learning too. Hopefully before I set out, I’ll be confident to try natural back country foods, or make my own brace for a broken arm, how to camp comfortably in the winter, and how to survive anything the wild world can throw at me. I’ll be a wilderness know-it-all without any experience. The experience and wisdom will come steadily and safely as long as the first week is not too difficult.
My food dehydrator has not been turned off in 72 hours. My mom is worried it is getting tired.
When I headed into the I love the tavern triathlon, I had no confidence in my abilities. Today I am ready to race, despite overwhelming physical fatigue. I am exicted to race and see everyone and hang out. Third place at 3sports tri is my goal. I have the confidence and desire to carry it through, and that combination in an athlete is unbeatable.