Friday Five: Five Awesome Ways to Support a Thru-Hiker

How are you training your home team?

I put a question to members of a thru-hiker support group I’m in and asked this of the former thru-hikers and LASHes:

What did your home team do to offer support that was special and meaningful?

Pine Cone, whom I met recently at an unrelated function, had made up this great little encouragement pack for her 2015 SOBO husband, 1Step.


OMG, how wonderful!

Pine Cone gets double brownie points for this.

I like to think she slid it surreptitiously into 1Step’s food bag and that he found it somewhere in the 100 mile wilderness on a cold, rainy day when he didn’t have cell service and he really needed a boost.

Speaking of brownies, I think I’d like to be surprised by home-made brownies chock full of pecans in a random mail drop from home or from a friend.  But an unplanned visit on my birthday (somehow involving a massage therapist and a hot tub) would also amaze.

(Big shameless hint to my honey, here.  Ralph, you takin’ notes?)

Here are five more things that the thru-hiker veterans loved that we might also suggest to our home team.

  1. From Patricia, more love notes and inspiration:  “My sister and her college roomie were helping me pack my resupply bags and they started writing all sorts of stuff, inspirational quotes, funny messages, etc. on the bags. So then when I took out my food for the day I never knew what random thing I was going to read!”
  2. From Debbie, a surprise visit and a meal out for her tramily:  “When I was hiking MA 3 years ago my husband showed up 2 days early to pick me up and took me and my 3 friends out to dinner and a night in a motel for everyone. My friends were as surprised as I was!”
  3. From Carla, actual photos in the mail:  “My husband wrote beautiful love letters and sent photos (this was before smart phones –  so he sent actual photos in the mail.)”
  4. From several others, support on Facebook and via text messages went a long way to cheer people through the inevitable rough patches.
  5. Finally, “Unexpected mail was especially nice” for everyone, it seems.

I have to agree, unexpected mail, handwritten post cards, letters or notes would be a treat when all you’re expecting is your box full of chili mac and extra batteries.

Dang, it’s a treat in my regular mailbox when the longest hike I’ve taken that day is from the house to the curb.

What about you, class of 2017?  What kind of support from you home team would make a huge difference on days when you want to go home?  Leave a comment below so the rest of us can share these “hints” with our own support network.

Hike happy!

P.S.  I love to connect.  Find me on Instagram or on Facebook or at my own website, Ruby Throat Journal, where you can pick up my how-to e-book full of delicious Freezer Bag Recipes or shoot me an email.

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