Parts of The Whole: Learning what it means to let go and trust the journey.

Today we’re introducing you to Larsen Tormey. Larsen is embarking on a 6,000+ mile journey, aiming to complete both the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail this year. He’ll be starting with the AT in a just about a month and today he’s sharing some pre-trail thoughts and intentions with us, as well as why Topos are his shoes of choice. When Larsen isn’t hiking, he works in the forestry and conservation field throughout the country. He originally hales from New York and is an avid hiker with many short and long trails under his belt.

My name is Larsen. On the trail, I go by Lars. In the summer of 2018, I traveled Southbound on the Appalachian Trail and was forever changed by the experience. I’ve been told you either thru-hike once and get it out of your system or you fall so deeply in love it consumes you. I fell into the latter category.

In the four years since, I have walked thousands of miles each year, filling all my available free time pursuing trails I could fit in between time-off. Embarking on a multi-month trip has been out of my reach – until this year. The opportunity has presented itself and I’m putting it all on the line. I will be attempting to hike both the Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide trail back-to-back.

At the end of the day, it’s just walking, right? But it’s never that easy. There’s inherent hardship in pursuing goals that surround you with self-doubt preventing you from escaping your own internal dialogue.

How am I feeling a little less than a month out from the start of my journey? I have forgotten what it feels like to give myself over completely to something and what it means to find truth in purpose. As of now, I am struggling to accept the fact that I must let go of my insecurities and weaker self. Time is both sacred and fleeting. In a lot of ways, I think taking on two trails gives me the feeling that maybe this goal is out of my control. I can’t possibly foresee any of the nuances that could happen along the way. Yet, in that unknown, I find excitement and joy, never knowing what is around the next corner or day. I alternate between happiness and fear, but I always stay humble. Because this journey will breakfast on my arrogance.

In David Foster Wallace’s short story titled, “On Life and Work” he writes,

    “It is about simple awareness — awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: “This is water, this is water.”

Life is complex, and it’s sure as hell not always straightforward and sensical. I think that’s why we freely go down the rabbit hole of distraction, to escape our own realities and the harshness of our world. Maybe that’s why I’m choosing to hike – to try and regain the beat of my own awareness and reawaken the adventurer inside me.

One of the few things I’m not second-guessing is my shoes. I’m a one-trick pony when it comes to footwear. Once I find something that works, I stick with it. I came across Topo and the Terraventure 3’s from the recommendation of a friend and I haven’t looked back since.

Every aspect of the shoe is designed with the athlete in mind. The midsoles keep my feet feeling fresh, even when the terrain is unforgiving and as my mileage doesn’t give the shoes proper rebound time. I trust the outsole to keep its grip in the most challenging environments. It’s only when I take the shoe way past its intended mileage and on the most rugged terrain that I’ll experience a blow out in the mesh.

How have I put these shoes to the test? I have taken them up class 3 scrambles, used a tattered and falling apart pair for 40 miles of backcountry Grand Canyon meandering, and I’ve ran down the most rutted and rooted east coast trails – all of it without any hesitation of slipping. This is why I’m choosing to go with the Terraventure 3 on my upcoming journey. This shoe has my back with the capability of staying together, keeping up, and not slowing me down. They’re the one thing on this trek that I have absolutely no doubt about.