Stories from the Trail

Preston Dixon: Why I Hike

I hike to silence doubt. The quiet of the forest and the powerful peace of a summit are nice, but the sweet slap hiking delivers to my doubts is the real prize. That formidable adversary dominated many pursuits of my twenties. I sat on the sidelines, pursuing only the safest and most comfortable of activities. The call of the Trail was persistent though. In 2017, I stumbled across a trail appreciation group and could no longer resist. Living in Atlanta, I quickly discovered the multitude of vistas and waterfalls I could chase. My naturally stern expression gave way over and over again to a smile despite sweat, pains, cramps, ice, and rain. I found resolve, joy, and a confidence that so often eluded me. In 2020, I completed the 52 Hike Challenge, and in July 2021, I conquered the cables and climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Lately, I find myself lavishing adoration on the A.T. thru-hikers I encounter since it seems implausible for me to ever complete the trek. Starting to think I have found my next doubt to conquer.