This was a recent topic of conversation in a thread post on the Facebook group Appalachian Trail Section Hikers. What would be your top 5 must-haves for the trail? Like 99% of the posters, I thought of my top five. A good sleep system. Adequate water
But then a hiker came out with another take on must-haves for a hike. And after reading it, I believe it was the most valuable of all -
(These Top Five Must-haves courtesy of Craig H)
1. A love for the outdoors
2. Realistic expectations
3. The ability to push through the present for the goal ahead
4. The ability to enjoy the moment and not worry about what is ahead
5. A respect for the trail and the realization that all our gear is a tool set, enabling us to enjoy it
He went on - “Yes, I have my gear favorites….but I feel that the gear is not as important as the experience. The gear is a tool…the knowledge on how to use that gear (or more importantly, how to get by without it) is the best thing that we can take with us.”
Wow. I was stopped in my tracks, as much as you can be sitting down reading this on a smart phone, pad, or laptop. And you know, he is absolutely right. We get so hung up on gear. Where we are going. The incidentals. Sweating what we think is the big stuff but will come forth naturally when the main priorities are put into place. And I believe this hiker named the top priorities for a successful hike. If you have the drive, a love to be
outdoors, a respect for the trail and hikers, the ability to enjoy whatever comes your way, it follows that you will prepare for the experience. And that means the secondary things like trip planning, gear, etc.
So as we delve into this year, full of hiking expectations, spend time pondering your top must-haves for a successful venture. You may find they actually parallel Craig’s when it comes right down to it!