Trail Stories - Mental Breakdown

Appalachian Trail Threat  - Mental Breakdown

The sun is falling fast and storm clouds are rolling in with 2 miles to go before you get off the mountain and are able to set up camp

The wind howls around you as you navigate the descent of yet another volkswagon beetle sized rock. As the freezing fog forms a veil around you, the realization hits that maybe you should have added the extra pound to your ULA Catalyst Backpack by bringing that TAD Ranger Hoodie

Why oh why did you think this was a good idea walking 2200 miles to Georgia all alone.  You could have been at home sitting on the front porch sipping a beer and smoking an Alec Bradley Tempus Cigar climbing into a warm bed but no you had to prove your worth.

You are finally off the mountain as the first bolts of lightning start crashing down on the peaks above.  the rain starts and the ground beneath your feet turns into a small river soaking your boots. a quick glance around you find two trees about 15 feet apart (isn't there always trees on this trail) and a few minutes later you are under a tarp and setting up the Hennessy Hammock Super Shelter

The rain and lightning continue through the night making sleep a wishful thought. you can hear the water rushing beneath you as you hang in the air above the torrent in relative comfort. Branches crack and fall in the woods, is it the wind or something more sinister attacking the woods around you?

It's at this point through the haze of exhaustion that you look near your feet and see the dry sack from that you keep your food in and realize that you didn't hang it from the tree like you were supposed to..  Before you can consider the consequences of your mistake 400 lbs of fury crashes through your camp for a late night snack and you feel a major seizure coming on.


This is my mental picture of every single night on the trail.  I have conditioned my mind to expect the worst possible scenario so that when I do face tough nights I can look back and say well, at least I didn't get eaten by a bear.

If I were to blow out a knee or have a medical issue I could handle that as a reason to get off the trail, but I will be terribly disappointed if I break down mentally.