The Erosion of Doubt

For the past week I have labored over all of the final preparations for my PCT hike.  I finished preparing 104 dehydrated dinners which were added to two dozen different resupply boxes.  I was meticulous.  I counted calories per day, miles per day, and calories per ounce.  They say the devil is in the details, and it’s true.  The details became overwhelming, and the stress began to accumulate on my shoulders. Slowly stress began to make my body ache, and naturally, doubt joined the party. How could I hike from Mexico to Canada if I’m achy before I even start.  The odds seem stacked against me from the beginning.

Luckily, Love over comes Doubt every time.  This weekend my parents organized a send off party.  They invited friends and family, and they even ordered an entire sheet cake with the PCT  blaze on it.  My family and closest friends converged for the first time ever, and it was beautiful.  Each person brought love and words of encouragement which slowly eroded my stress and feelings of anxiety. At one point I was standing in the kitchen, surrounded by my closest friends, and I became overwhelmed by their presence. They had never been in the same room together, and the moment became etched into my mind.  The moment whispered truth and foreshadowed a reality beyond time and space.  I wished I could freeze time and live the rest of my life within that moment. 

I was hesitant about having a party at first.  What if I failed and never finished the trail? I’d have to inform all of my friends and family about my failure, but at the party I realized it didn’t matter. Everyone at the party was proud of me for who I am, regardless of my achievements.  I can start hiking from Mexico and know that my identity is not tied to my achievements, and this truth frees me to hike with less weight on my shoulders.  

At the party, I also realized my friends and family have more confidence in me than I have in myself.  When I express my doubts about finishing the PCT my friends and family always correct me with confidence.  The fear of failure all too often rears it’s ugly face, but my send off party helped reveal truth and nourish my soul.  I am still a little nervous about the trip, but I’m officially more excited than anxious.  I am ready to confront my fear of failure head on, and I’m ready to hike!

Photo: Stacy Goerzen 

Photo: Stacy Goerzen