I have been preparing for Te Araroa or TA physically for 6 weeks now and I will post about that later. But I wanted to focus today on preparing for a thru hike mentally.
First I will share something ... despite those photos on Instagram I am super scared about TA. I find being in the wilderness at times filling with dread. There is no other word - dread. There I have said it. Particularly when I am on my own, eating dinner, it’s dark and so quiet! The idea of spending 60 days of this fills me with a little heart flutter.
For example when I took this photo at Witses Hut at northern Kosciuzscko National Park ...
the dread was already creeping in. Look there are brumbies and everything!
But you know the next day I actually felt more comfortable. The next day ... sleep on it, make a cup of tea - those are some truisms that actually work.
So I thought about how to prepare for my own mental health while thru-hiking?
The kind of issues I brainstormed were things like the negative spiralling that sets in dread, boredom, consistent pain, loneliness, lack of direction, fatigue etc...
The kind of remedies were keeping a blog, listening to audiobooks, downloading music, learning a language (yep Japanese for me!), literally having a list of friends I can contact on the trail, and having a mascot - hello wombassador.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on being mentally resilient on a thru-hike. I am here to learn from you!