When I was 16, I met this mountain climbing, beard growing, tree hugging, good looking, hippie of a man-boy (is 16 a man? Or a boy?). He told me “one day I’m going to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.” I replied with “have fun!” and went about my day.
10 years later, that man-boy has filled the role of my boyfriend for 5 years, fiancé for 1 year, and husband for 4 years. We have a 1-year-old baby girl, Ellie. This year in March 2017, he’s going to complete his lifelong dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, just maybe not how he imagined when he was a teenager. A couple little ladies are joining him. That would be me, his wife, Bekah, and Ellie. You read that correctly, our 1-year-old baby is thru hiking the Appalachian Trail with us. And according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, she’ll be the first of her age! When Ellie was born, we realized how much faster time flew by with a child. The evening hours after work was never enough family time, Monday came far too quickly after the weekend shenanigans, and I wanted to figure out a way to make time slow down. The wheels started turning in my head as I flipped through the pictures of a coffee table Appalachian Trail book. Why not now? Why not all 3 of us?
Unplugged from the world, together 24/7, all accomplishing the same task. That was my solution to making the time slow down. I nonchalantly ran it by Derrick, he said, “Let’s go!” So, we sold our house and most of our belongings, and started planning for 7 months and 2,100 miles on the East Coast’s longest trail. We have less than two months before we head out. There are mixed emotions - excited for the new memories, curious how this is all going to work with Ellie, and a little nervous about the unknown of the trail. Trip planning and logistics are in full swing. Coordinating diaper re-supply points, testing baby clothes layers, and experimenting with two people carrying 2 ½ people’s worth of clothing, gear, and food. Oh yeah, plus the 20 lb. baby!