As the countdown ticks on, I contemplate what is deemed as necessary for me to carry on the trail. I joined a couple Facebook groups designated for Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers in order to get to know my fellow hikers and to learn all I can before setting out on this epic adventure. As with any interaction with other humans, there are diverse opinions. I value opinions as they give me some perspective on what lies ahead.
Some feedback is more helpful than others, then there are those responses that are just plain unnecessary. I don’t know why I thought the hiking community would be any different than the rest of society, but I find myself at times disgusted by the chatter that can ensue after someone posts a question on the ever-popular social platform, Facebook.
This is my first trail lesson learned. No matter where you go, people will be people. The trail is no different than taking a stroll down a crowded street, in the sense that there is a certain social categorization that exists.
You have your genuine concerned folk, those who are caring, helpful people, people who are generous in spirit and in the deeds that they do. These are the people who know what it is to be a trail newbie and use their experience to nurture and guide us at every stage along the way.
Then there are those who are quite experienced and believe that they know best and that their opinions are the only ones that matter. They know it all and have thousands of miles of hiking under their belts and therefore are entitled to bluntly state what works and what doesn’t work. These folks can be very helpful, given their experience and I take great credence in what they say. However, some may come off as bullies who can turn their noses down to us inexperienced long-distance hikers. Be wary of these people, who can instill even more doubt in the minds of already apprehensive to-be thru-hikers.
Lastly, there are those who insist on forcing their superiority down everyone’s throats by verbally attacking anyone who challenge their authority. I’ve been an unfortunate witness to this account, which caused me to go as far as to delete one of my posts just to end the barrage.
So what have I learned from this lesson? I’ve weeded out the unnecessary from my hiking baggage. This is a list of what I will not be carrying with me:
– Narrow mindedness