Thru-Hiking for Type-A Personalities

  It has become well accepted scientific fact that hiking can be therapeutic for people. Getting out in nature and getting the blood flowing does wonders for the body, mind, and heart. But thru-hiking—that is, backpacking a long trail like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail from start to finish—can sometimes seem daunting, something only for the wild ones. Who else would willingly leave civilization to carry everything they need on their backs and live in the woods for the better part of a year?

Most clean-cut, goal-oriented, list-making, certified Type-A persons would not fathom leaving secure jobs to go into such an unstructured environment. Thru-hiking isn’t just for the wanderers. It can also be for planners and list-makers.

Thru-hiking should be a wanderer’s paradise: no rules, no parents, no bosses, no schedule. Type-B personalities would be in their element, living each day as it came and planning no further than their next water and snack break. Sure, you can fly to Atlanta, get an Uber to the top of Springer Mountain, and set off without any plan and still make it to Mount Katahdin by the time Baxter State Park closes in October.

But putting in the effort to plan before hitting the ground hiking pays off. Creating a to-do list, makes this enormous, lifelong goal seem reachable. If you really love planning, you can buy food supplies in bulk to send yourself along the way, saving yourself time and money.

If you’re someone who likes routine, you’ll love long-distance backpacking. Once your body gets used to sleeping outdoors, it’s like clockwork: you rise with the sun and snuggle into your shelter when it’s dark. You know exactly what you’ll eat for every meal. You can plan out how many miles you want to hike, where your destination will be, and find a good pace that works for you.

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