Thru-Hiking: A Mama’s Perspective

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After our shakedown trip, I sent my mama and daddy some questions to answer about what our AT thru-hike is like from their perspective. The following is my mama’s response:


Let me just preface this all by saying that Morgan is my baby girl and I love her to distraction. I’ve told her all of her life that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to and she continues to put that to the test. So far, she’s proven it to be true and I don’t expect this adventure to be any different!

What were your initial thoughts when I told you that Logan & I were planning on thru-hiking the AT?

Honestly, my very first thought in response to your decision to thru-hike was ‘WHAAAAAAAAAAT?!? WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!? HOOOOOOOOOOOOOW?!? WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!?! How can I talk them out of this?!??!?!’ Fortunately, I had the good sense to not say any of that out loud. 

I decided that I better approach it like I try to do everything else in my life: pray about it before having any conversation with you. After asking a lot of questions, praying and thinking through all the ramifications, I had a lot of questions. But I also had an overwhelming understanding that this is your life, your story, your time to determine your path in life and that I needed to trust you.

Your daddy and I moved halfway across the country after we got married. Our families didn’t understand why we were doing that. I remembered feeling like I had to justify our decision when we knew that we knew that we knew it was the right thing for us. I really didn’t want to make you feel that way and I did recognize that your college graduation/Logan starting grad school several months later created a natural ‘break’ in your life responsibilities and if you were going to do something like this, the timing couldn’t be any better.

What are you most worried about?

I’m most worried about your physical safety.

Wildlife, weather, physical, and mental fatigue… All of these are very real and very dangerous aspects of this journey. Once again, I’m spending a lot of time praying over these things and trusting that God will protect you both. I really appreciate your openness to having the satellite phone and just letting us know regularly that you are ok. That means so much more than you know!!!

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Did accompanying us on a shakedown trip help in any way?

I decided that one thing that would help me deal with my anxieties over the trip was to be more educated about what you guys would be doing and dealing with every day. I bought the ‘Walk In The Woods’ audio book and listened to that, which was very insightful. But, it was not my favorite book ever. I also wanted to go with you on the shakedown trip so I could see firsthand what you would be doing from day-to-day. It was very comforting to see how easily you made the hikes, set up and took down camp, cooked, etc. And now I feel like I will be able to visualize your journey in ways that I would not have been able to before!

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part was just being together – having the experience together. Precious times for this mama. 

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Do you think Logan & I will be successful on our journey? Why or why not?

I do believe you will be successful. And I believe that regardless of whether you complete the thru-hike or not. I know you both. And I know that you will take the good, the bad, and the ugly from this journey and make it into something beautiful for your life and for those around you. I am very excited to see how that all plays out!!!

How would you advise other parents of people planning a thru-hike?

Educate yourselves. Ask lots of questions. Be willing to be part of the journey in some way(s) and be supportive.

As parents of adult children, it’s hard to learn when you can/should stop saying “you can or you can’t do something.”  I think it’s best to walk alongside and bring your wisdom to the situation and let your child live out their lives and write their own story. Much easier said than done for sure! But what a beautiful thing it is to watch your child grow and become this incredible person and achieve things far beyond what you could ever imagine for them.

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