In 2014 my husband, three kids ages 15, 13 and 11, and myself hiked the Appalachian Trail. Our hike took us 175 days.
To share the story of our family thru-hike and to help us fund it, we produced a video series while hiking called: Beyond our Boundaries: A Family Adventure on the Appalachian Trail.
At the beginning of August, in Vermont, I got off the trail with a foot injury that I hoped would heal with a couple weeks of rest. It didn't and I got off the trail permanently in the middle of August at Glencliff, NH. My family continued without me and I supported them with our vehicle.
Our family thru-hike changed our family is ways we could not anticipate. The intensity of our adventure, emotionally and physically, revealed both positive and negatives in our individual characters and family culture.
It was an experience of contrasts, so beautiful and painful. Days of joy and days of suffering, experiencing deep connection and loneliness, excitement and boredom.
This is a personal journal of that adventure.
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Day 67 - VA 630 to Trout Creek VA 620
When will I move beyond my struggles out here?
I did ok today but started grousing near the end of the day. I want to be done hiking by 5:30. Truthfully, I want to be done sooner than that but it's just not realistic.
Today, when we weren't done hiking by 5:30, I lost my patience with all the hard work of the day. I'm just tired of this pace.
This thru-hike is not what I thought long distance backpacking would be. The mismatch of reality and expectation is always hard.
The terrain today was beautiful, notably no rhododendrons but lots of pine. We hiked the ridge of Sinking Creek Mountain with views to the east. Crossed the Eastern Continental Divide. The camera is still not working, except for a couple photos I was able to take today.
Late this afternoon, as we were walking the ridge on Brush Mountain, we made a plan to have supper at The Home Place tomorrow night. We placed a call with the good cell coverage on the ridge to arrange a shuttle pick up at VA 311 tomorrow afternoon. This gives us something to look forward to and raised our spirits a bit for the remainder of the day.
When we arrived at Trout Creek we decided to camp here for the night instead of hiking another 1.2 to Pickle Branch Shelter. We'll be refreshed in the morning and that 500 ft elevation gain will be an easier walk.
It was dark by the time I was doing dishes in the creek. I've prepared a hot water bottle tonight for the camera. Hoping the heat might help dry it out. I massaged @toesalad's feet and am now going to bed, quite late, at 10 pm. Planning to sleep in tomorrow morning because we need the rest.
Day 66 - Bailey Gap Shelter to VA 630 by Keffer Oak
What a hard day. My camera stopped working today. I think it's the humidity in general and the humidity the camera experiences every day pressed up against my sweaty chest. Not being able to take pictures is torture for me. I'm trusting this will resolve by "airing" out the camera.
We had a slow start this morning. Motivation was low and my hip was bothering me. Our pace was pathetic because of it, my disposition affected the whole family. I did some stretching by myself and enjoyed the second to last ridge we hiked today (we are walking lots of ridges these days). I repeated a mantra for a while and that helped, until my mood started to plummet as the day dragged on, and on...
Hiked past a flooded beaver dam, saw pretty scenery, but I was in a foul mood for most of the day and my feet were aching by the time we set up camp.
We're not in an official camping area tonight. We pitched our tents just off the road in some trees. A thunderstorm broke just as we were finishing our supper chores. Raining hard now. Grateful we are done hiking for the day and in the shelter of our tents during this storm.
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