I have spent several years reading about the Appalachian Trail and various thru-hikes of the trail, so I have developed some ideas of what I might face. I want to have a record of my expectations, so that when I complete the trail I can see what what I was right about, and what I was completely wrong about.
I expect to develop hiker hunger (being able to eat and eat and never feel full). Actually, I'm kind of looking forward to decimating every restaurant I stop at.
I expect to get rained on. A lot. I've gotten pretty lucky with weather in the past, so I'm guessing karma is going to catch up with me and I'll face pretty bad weather. This is one thing I would like to be wrong about.
I expect to have some miserable days. I'm certain there will be more good days than bad days, but I would be a fool if I didn't think I would have one or two spirit crushing days.
I expect to lighten my pack weight. This is pretty common with thru-hikers so it isn't really a bold expectation, but I still expect to get lighter alternatives at some point.
I expect to be in pain (not quite as bad as watching my hockey team lose in the finals, but still close). If survive the trail, I'm guessing I'll be hobbling around like a 90 year old man for a while.
I expect to fall down. Lots of people have better drunk balance than I have sober balance, so my hike isn't going to be pretty.
I expect to completely stop caring how dirty and smelly I get (though I'm a guy, so I've ever really cared in the first place).
I expect my hike to be one of the best experiences of my life. Maybe not as good as getting an extra Chicken McNugget at McDonalds, but still really good. I'm sure I'll develop a higher appreciation for nature than I already have, and hopefully I'll meet lots of terrific people.
Also, as a final note, I completely expect to get screwed over at the airport in some fashion. I'm not quite sure how, but I'm sure I'll be complaining about airports on this blog at some point.