While Steve does most of the blogging about our adventures, I wanted to share my thoughts as I get ready for Steve to begin his AT thru-hike on Saturday. Thru-hiking the AT has been a bucket list and dream of his for so many years. Way back in 2004 when we lived in Virginia and would talk about it, I secretly never thought it would come to fruition. Well, I’m eating those thoughts now!
Steve plans to depart on March 12th from Springer Mountain, GA and, if all goes well, will be gone for about 6 months. Many of my friends and family have asked me how I feel about this whole thing, so I decided to jot down my thoughts. I typically joke about it and say I’m glad he’s finally getting to do it so I don’t have to listen to him talk about it anymore and so he can quit obsessing over it all the time. And to set the story straight, he has assured me that this is not his attempt to get some time away from me after literally living together for 10 months in 480 square feet in “a van down by the river.”
I also have been asked many times why I’m not going with him. My answer to that is… “It’s not my crazy bucket list item!” Although I do enjoy hiking and being out in nature, I just don’t feel the draw to go that far and spend that many nights in a row in a tent on the ground! Even though I’m sure I would enjoy much about the experience, for me, the cons far outweigh the positives. Having said that, I know Steve’s experience will be much better if he’s not having me around to slow him up and complain about how my feet hurt, or I’m too hot, or I really need a bath!
I’m actually excited for him to be able to begin this bucket list adventure because I know how much he wants to do it, but I’m also very anxious and worrisome about it. Dwelling on the “what ifs” and negatives of his hike is something that I struggle with every day. In all areas of my life I try not to be a “Negative Nelly” but it is something that I have to fight against. In reaction to his hike, I will have to remind myself everyday to think about the positives (the nature experience, the camaraderie with his fellow hikers, the majestic views he will enjoy, his sense of accomplishment, and of course, the protection of the Almighty watching over him). I will have to keep my mind away from the “what ifs”, like “what if he gets lost, what if he gets hurt, what if he gets mugged by some crazy hiker, what if he’s in the middle of a bad storm, what if he runs out of water, what if he gets bitten by a snake and of course, the obvious…WHAT IF HE GETS MAULED BY A BEAR like Leo DiCaprio in The Revenant!” Those kinds of thoughts will only make my next 6 months miserable. Therefore, I am going to try very hard not think about those things! He has told me that I cannot start worrying unless I haven’t had any contact or text from him within 7 days. I can’t promise not to worry, but I promise not to call the Forest Ranger to go find him before the 8th day of no contact!
As for my plans for the next few months, I plan to spend quite a bit of time with my family in SC and visiting with friends around the country. One of the added blessings will be spending several weeks with my aging parents, which I know will be something that I will cherish for a long time. I plan to meet Steve 3 or 4 times at various trail towns along the hike and will mail him a few care packages along the way. We also have a wedding coming up in May that gives me something to be excited about! As a military wife, I was lucky to only have Steve gone on one long deployment for about 5 ½ months in his 23-year career. When he was in Afghanistan I had many things to worry about regarding his safety, but I had a house to keep and the kids at home to keep my mind and life busy. This time around, it’s just me and I don’t even have a typical “home” to hang out in. I will have to depend on my friends and family to house me and keep me busy! I like to think of myself as a pretty independent woman, but I’m sure doing things on my own for the next few months will get old after awhile. I will certainly miss my best friend that I’ve been living life with for the past 28 years!
I am happy that so many of our family and friends, new and old, are following Steve’s journey and supporting him while he’s living out this crazy dream. He will certainly look forward to reading all your posts and supportive comments on our blog or through Facebook, as will I. We solicit your prayers for both of us as we embark on this journey.
I guess I will finish up my thoughts here with a note to my dear, sweet husband…I am so proud of you for having the determination and drive to follow your dreams! I’m glad that we are at a point in our life that this dream is becoming a reality for you. I can promise you that I will pray for you daily (most likely multiple times each day), that I will miss you terribly (the good and the bad), that I will try not to worry TOO much (can’t promise that I won’t worry at all), but most importantly I promise you that I will LOVE YOU FOREVER!
Be safe, my love, and come back to me in one piece as soon as you can!!
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