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 daddy’s response:
If you’re a follower of Trail Mix for Newlyweds, you’re obviously aware of their impending plans to begin their trek this week. Maybe you’ve read some of their writings and have had questions sparked in your mind? If yes, you’re not alone!
Speaking from a “daddy’s” point of view, let me share a few thoughts…
Morgan and Logan were engaged in 2015, and so the journey began. I should’ve realized quickly that this would be no ordinary relationship, since Logan asked me if he could marry Morgan AFTER he and I hiked 3 miles up Mt Yonah in Cleveland, GA. What a great setting for such an important life event!
As plans for the wedding continued to develop, they also shared their desire to hike the AT after Morgan finished college in December of 2016. I suppose I was rather numb to this at first, as so many other thoughts were occupying my mind during this time: wedding plans and ensuring that everything was progressing as it should. I know at first that I had the mindset of “Yeah, that sounds good, but they’re young… They’ll change their mind soon enough.” However, it came evident quickly that they were really SERIOUS about this.
Hiking the AT? As newlyweds? By themselves?
What about food? What about shelter? What about money?
And protection… How would they protect themselves? And what if it rains? Or snows?
What if they get tired of it? What if Morgan’s feet don’t hold up?
The questions continued to flood my mind for a period, but I’d like to point out that those questions (though still not all answered) have subsided.
Why? Let me share a few reasons:
- TIME: How many of us have had things we’ve wanted (and still want) to do, but have pushed them aside because of different reasons? I’m happy they’ve chosen to take this time to fulfill a desire they’ve both had for a while.
- RESEARCH: Kudos to Morgan and Logan for not taking this lightly. They’ve put in many hours studying trail maps, reading of other fellow hiker’s trips, and talking face to face with people who have made the same journey. Of course, there’s no way they can be 100% prepared for everything they’ll face, but I’m confident they won’t be caught completely off guard either.
- EQUIPMENT: As they’ve prepared for this, they’ve also done a great job of collecting the gear needed to make this successful. I’m proud of them for realizing there are some things they can absolutely live without, while at the same time realizing there are other things that they can’t compromise on.
- WILLPOWER. This may be the most important one of all. I’m certain there will be days where they truly want to quit. I mean, think about it… Sleeping on the ground for six months, with limited human contact, out in the elements, eating the same types of food every single day? Who among us wouldn’t struggle with that? I believe, however, that they’ll push through those times and will encourage each other when needed. I also believe that seeing beautiful sunrises each day, experiencing the peace and solitude of nature, and knowing they’re part of something much bigger than themselves will help to buoy them and give them the strength they need to push through.
So what advice would I give to other parents facing this same life event?
Three simple things sum up my thoughts here:
- EDUCATE YOURSELF: There’s a wealth of material available for us at the touch of our fingers. Study the trail. Read of other folk’s experiences. Check weather patterns. Investigate potential issues they may face. The list could go on and on, but the more we learn up front, the better off we’ll be!
- ASK QUESTIONS: Ask any and every thing that pops into your mind, no matter how crazy it may seem. I believe this is key to understanding their mindset, and it will bring us peace in knowing they’re prepared.
- TRUST GOD: I realize some may disagree with this, or think of it as a cliché, but for me, this is THE most important thing I can do. I’ve watched the Lord take care of Morgan her whole life. And since they’ve been together, I’ve seen Him provide for the two of them over and over again. In reality, I can only control me. I can’t control what they will face or the struggles they’ll come across. I know God can though. And more importantly, I know He will.
So, do I think they’ll be successful? Yes, I do. My prayer is for them to experience God each day in a unique way, to grow together as a couple, to meet neat people, and to truly enjoy and soak in the beauty of the surroundings they’ll be a part of along the way.
Follow along and enjoy the journey!