There are several great phrases that have become part of the Appalachian Trail…. a saying like, “No Pain, No Gain, No Rain, No Maine.” Another grand phrase is the old trail proverb of focus and perspective: “Hike Your Own Hike” (HYOH). Yet another cool bit of slang is “YMMV” (It appears that hikers are not much different than the rest of the world in that they love to make initials out of just about everything), or “Your Mileage May Vary”, basically meaning “this worked for me, but your results/opinions might not be the same.”
One saying that I have not seen in print nor have I heard spoken by fellow hikers, but one that I hope to keep on the front of my mind and to help spread along the trail.…”No adversity…No adventure.” Adversity makes the best stories. To tell of hiking under the green trees on a sunny day makes for a pleasant read, but to share about coming face to face with a rattlesnake, or to sledge through mud up to your calves, or to hike for fifteen miles without water in 95 degree heat… these make for great stories of adventure. A quiet night’s sleep without interruption makes for an enjoyable morning, but being shot out of your sleeping bag by the loud scream of a screech owl at 2:30 in the morning makes for a great campfire tale. No adversity…No adventure!
One major storm of lightning and thunder dominates the conversation on the trail over a week’s worth of blue skies. Adversity is often difficult, frightening, discouraging, frustrating, and even paralyzing. But if I am able to hide this philosophy (No adversity…No adventure) in my heart and mind, I am hoping that it will provide a perspective in order to embrace the challenge and thrive on the difficult.
If you read of this trail saying from some other source, remember you heard it here first. I think it will make a great chapter title in a book someday. And more than that, I think it will help me overcome fear, a lack of self-confidence, and discouragement.
Countdown: 189 days!