Redefine “Winning” and “Losing”

SUCCESS: the accomplishment of one’s goals; the attainment of position, honors, or the like

WIN: to finish first in a contest; to succeed by striving or effort

LOSE: to be without or fail to retain something so that it cannot be recovered

Mountain beauty

In our original plans for a big epic adventure,  daughter and I were going to hike 340 miles of the Appalachian Trail in two months. We will not accomplish that goal on this trip…we won’t even come close. Compared to thru-hikers we are slow-moving wimps. And in failing to meet this specific goal, it cannot be recovered at a later time. Hmmm, by these definitions it sure looks like we have not met success, that we are losers rather than winners…

NOT TRUE! True success is reaching for a goal, learning and growing in the process.

After pondering for a number of days, we have decided that we are finished with this fall’s big adventure. We are headed home today, having hiked over 150 trail miles in six weeks. (AT miles do not include the distance to and from the trail to shelters, water sources, and resupply sites.) This decision was based on a number of factors including:

  • Daughter is getting weary
  • Multiple cold days and below-freezing nights are draining
  • A good night’s sleep is no longer enough to start each day ache-free for me
  • We miss family, friends, and pets back home
  • We have lost the JOY of living and walking in beautiful surroundings, focused more on slogging through to the next shelter
  • There is something poetic about starting near Waynesboro (PA) and finishing in Waynesboro (VA)

Looking back at our original goals (which you can read HERE), we have actually met most of them. This adventure has stretched us out of our comfort zones and, in the process, shown us how much we are capable of doing. We have loved living outdoors, enjoying the beauties of nature. We have met fascinating people and been encouraged by their stories. We can truly celebrate what we have accomplished. This adventure has definitely been a success!

Celebrating SUCCESS

Don’t worry…we still have many stories to share with you from our backpacking adventure. There will be more blog posts and photos in the coming weeks. And we will definitely return for further trail adventures next year!

We left a piece of our heart on the Appalachian Trail...

We left a piece of our heart on the Appalachian Trail…it calls us back for more adventures!

(Read about our return to the trail HERE and about our special Tiny-Me hiking companions joining us HERE.)

9 thoughts on “Redefine “Winning” and “Losing”

  1. As far as I can see, it’s been a truly successful adventure for both of you. 150 miles (basic, not with the additions) … Up against terrain … And weather! Hats off to you Jill!

    You’ve learned appreciation and thankfulness for your family, friends, home, pets. That’s all good, the best 🙂 x


  2. While working my way through college at a boat/motor dealership, I was surrounded by speed freak bass boaters spending their hard earned dollars paying me to “soup up” their machines to wring out an additional few MPH from their “fishing” boats. Off the line and first to that special hole where the really big bass lurked. Props, special bottom work and any new gadget that moved their boat faster and faster. But me? I had a small sailboat. They probably thought I was nuts. I also chose to fly sailplanes rather than power planes. I think the reasons for those decisions are the same as my enjoyment of hiking. The journey. Not the start or the finish.


  3. Great accomplishments for you both. Having met you guys added to the benefits I receive for volunteering along the AT at the Washington Monument State Park museum and visitor center. I meet so many interesting and inspiring people like you.


  4. Congratulations to both of you on your SUCCESS! I really liked that quote, “True success is reaching for a goal, learning and growing in the process.” You definitely have accomplished that, and I am sure the learning & growth will continue at home, too.


  5. Jill and Anna, You are winners in my book! What an adventure you have had, and even though we met only once, I am so very proud of you both! I look forward to more blog posts! I am so glad to hear Kristin and I were not the only ones jumping at those black snakes on the trail:) Any time you want to come hike the North Country Trail or the Laurel Highlands Trail here in PA, let me know!!


  6. 150 miles! Brave and amazing. I also really admire that you recognized and honored when it was time to stop. I’m in awe of what you’ve done. I hope you both are too. xo-


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