The Big Epic

Connect with Nature - One Adventure at a Time

A Touch of Home

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere.”—Miriam Adeney

As I have said before, I thrive on adventure, on the next big “epic” in life. It truly is exciting to go new places, meet new people, and try new things. No matter how much I love these new experiences, reality soon sets in. I begin to miss home: friends and family, pets, and “normal” routines. My heart is pulled in many directions at the same time!

As we started our epic adventure of a long-distance backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail, we happily said goodbye to friends and family at home. It was harder to say goodbye to husband/daddy when we reached the trail. We wouldn’t see him again for a few months…

saying goodbye

Along the way we discovered that many fellow hikers were surprised that we were fully supported and encouraged by hubby/dad to pursue this dream. When we paid attention, we realized most females on the trail were either hiking with their fellow or were single. Wow! What a gift we had been given! (Read more about how hubby and I support and encourage each other to pursue individual passions HERE.)

For the first few weeks, we had strong cell phone reception and internet access. We could talk to family back home and could keep up with friends online. The encouragement and support we received was significant in helping us persevere, especially on difficult days. At one resupply stop, there was an unexpected note waiting for us. Yay! That little card kept me from calling it quits when I questioned the wisdom of continuing to hike with a painful, broken toe.

notes from home

We always enjoyed the new places and new people we encountered. We soaked up the natural beauty surrounding us each day. But…we missed hubby/dad more and more each week. One afternoon, we were sitting on a bench at a shelter, feet propped up, watching the access trail for other hikers to stop for the night. Here came a fellow…but wait! He had no pack…and he looked familiar… Hurrah! Daddy/Husband surprised us, found us by our itinerary, and joined us on the trail for a few days! Unbelievable!

surprise visitor

(We discovered later that stories of this visit were passed up and down the trail along the thru-hiker grapevine. It really was considered an unusual, very big deal!)

Eventually, we reached a long section of trail where we had only limited opportunity to connect with family and friends. It felt like we were miles away and unreachable. Oh how that made us miss home! Eventually we reached another TOWN DAY. As I explained in a previous post, it’s not the same as “home” but each visit to a town includes delights such as a soft bed, yummy food, and good internet/phone connections. On this particular stop, we were greeted by a special package at the post office. One filled with things to make us smile: silly toys, little treats, tiny luxuries, sweet chocolate, survival gear for the trail, and more. But best of all, it was filled with LOVE from friends across the country.

trail mail

Ahhh…the best way to enjoy adventures is to regularly receive a touch of home!

(Note: We finished our hiking on October 21st. We will continue to share photos and posts about our adventures in the upcoming weeks.)

(Read HERE about things we have learned to say goodbye to before heading to the trail…)

4 Comments

  1. I empathise absolutely, Jill. Like you, I am fortunate to be married to a man who knows that adventure seeking is part of who I am and who honours my restless soul by supporting me in my (sometimes) crazy endeavours. Like you, I miss home and hubby when I am away. I wonder if we would if they were less supportive? they are clever indeed to know this ;-). How blessed we are.
    Loving your blog posts and well done on persevering for as long as you did. I’ve wanted to see the Appalacian Trail ever since I read Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods”. We don’t have any wilderness left over here. Who knows? Maybe one day x

  2. What a great husband and father. You two are blessed!

  3. Jill,
    It’s been great to follow your reflections. Welcome Home! Julie Hart

  4. It was great to share your experience. Thanks

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