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Living Up to My Identity as an Outdoors-woman on the Long Trail

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Residing As much as My Identification as an Outdoor-woman on the Lengthy Path

Hello, I’m Jamie and I’ll be trying a northbound end-to-end hike of Vermont’s Lengthy Path this fall. Right here’s somewhat about me and why I’m climbing.

I’ve at all times recognized as “outdoorsy.” Once I was a child, my dad and mom took my brother and I tenting not less than a pair instances per 12 months within the state parks close to Buffalo, New York the place I grew up. I liked each second of it: splashing via creeks in my water footwear, overturning rocks to catch crayfish, amassing fascinating bugs in little plastic containers, driving round in with my toes dangling from the mattress of a pickup truck at nightfall, making an attempt to spy deer grazing within the fields because the solar sank beneath the tree-covered hills.

Hot air balloons hovering over a tree-lined gorge in Letchworth State Park, New York

Scorching air balloons over Letchworth State Park in New York: one in all my favourite locations to camp rising up.

My first job was at a city park, sustaining nature trails over the summer time months with a crew of different teenagers and younger twenty-somethings. As a feminine, I used to be type of a uncommon chook, nevertheless it by no means felt that approach. I may carry a very good bundle of two-by-fours over my shoulder from the truck to the work web site. I may load up my wheelbarrows with simply as a lot gravel as the fellows. I did this simply to show I may, however to not show it to them—to show it to myself.

I discovered find out how to construct and keep trails. I discovered about nature, too – find out how to establish native vegetation and bushes, which berries you may eat and which can make you puke, find out how to measure board toes utilizing a Biltmore stick, and find out how to inform a tree’s age by counting the rings on a cork from an increment borer. Extra importantly, I discovered that I really feel most alive once I’m outdoors in nature, and that I’m able to issues society typically tells women and girls we are able to’t do. I cemented a good bit of my establish throughout these six summers of my life, from mid-high faculty via faculty. I used to be the outdoors-woman.

Quick-forward to right now

I’m 28 years previous and residing in Manhattan. I don’t suppose I’ve ever felt much less outdoorsy than I did this 12 months, cooped up in my cramped NYC residence throughout COVID-19 lockdown, chained to my laptop computer and having every little thing delivered to me by some bro on an electrical bicycle who works for an app. My fitness center closed again in March, and I’ve gotten actual sick and uninterested in doing the world’s quietest burpees on a yoga mat in my 10-square-foot lounge in order to not disturb the downstairs neighbors. I do know I’m not the one one for whom 2020 was a wake-up name, a lack of management, a seemingly limitless wave of powerlessness and simultaneous boredom, however…

I need to really feel like myself once more. To really feel bodily and succesful, and to place an finish to the impostor syndrome that’s plagued me in some capability ever since I moved to the large metropolis. I by no means stopped being an outdoors-woman, however I’ve undoubtedly spent extra time ingesting mimosas on restaurant patios than climbing these previous few years. What’s extra, I’ve spent extra time researching climbing than really climbing. Once I’m bored, or confused, procrastinating the work I ought to be doing, I hunt down info. For a very long time, that analysis was centered on climbing; particularly, thru-hiking the Appalachian Path. I’ve wished to thru-hike the AT for years, nevertheless it was simply by no means the suitable time.

The blogger, Jamie Nash, standing in a green forest

Me in Central Park, Manhattan, NY.

Why the Lengthy Path, and why now?

Although I’ve but to search out a possibility to take roughly six months away from my life, the AT fantasy has gotten me via rather a lot. It was comforting to know—even within the early days of residing in NYC, when the crowdedness of the morning A prepare was once sufficient to wreck my day—that outdoors of this rubbish metropolis folks have been thru-hiking, and that sometime I could be one in all them. Though NYC and I’ve since made our peace (you get used to the rubbish scent after, like, 12 months two), the reality is I don’t need to wait any longer to get again to myself. If the pandemic taught me something, it’s that point is a finite useful resource. And by chance, thru-hiking the AT isn’t the one choice on the market.

The Lengthy Path is 273 miles—a couple of three-week dedication—and the southern terminus is simply a couple of three-hour drive from my residence. It should not at all be straightforward, however even with the pandemic to think about, there have been far fewer boundaries between me and an LT thru-hike (or end-to-end, because it’s referred to as by the Inexperienced Mountain Membership (GMC)). I’ve heard and browse that the rugged terrain of the Inexperienced Mountains will make the hike tough, however that’s a part of the attract for me. I’m excited to check myself, to check my health (which, admittedly, has waned a bit since March), and to check my mindset. I need to see what I’m able to, and show to myself that I’m what I say I’m.

Observe my journey on The Trek

Should you’ve made it this far, thanks for studying! I’ll be posting extra about journey particulars, logistics, gear, and COVID-19 concerns this week as I prepare to go out.

Affiliate Disclosure

This web site incorporates affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests The Trek could obtain a share of any services or products you buy utilizing the hyperlinks within the articles or commercials. The customer pays the identical worth as they’d in any other case, and your buy helps to assist The Trek’s ongoing objective to serve you high quality backpacking recommendation and knowledge. Thanks to your assist!

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