Hikers! Don’t forget… YO MOMMA!

I can’t imagine the nerves a parent might feel before their child starts a 2,190.3 mile pilgrimage across the United States…purely on the fumes of a dream, strongwill ambition and 20lbs of gear on their back. Double the anxiety when the child at stake announces he/she will be hiking SOLO. Triple that anxiety when the child then informs you that firearms are not permitted along the A.T. for protection. Go ahead and start coffin shopping and plot locating when hiker child tells you that, in addition to all of the above, there will also be moments of hitch hitching, bear encounters, open ridge line lightning storms, severe opportunity for hypothermia, the list goes on.

Now, as an up and coming Appalachian Trail thru hiker, I can tell you I’ve been COMPLETELY LOST in my own thoughts and feelings about my trek and hadn’t really thought about the emotional/mental impact it could be having on my close ones. I decided that since Mom is probably the one I should be thankful for MOST (she did give birth to my bus-sized head) she deserved an opportunity to speak out about my adventure. So I asked her to answer a few questions for me so I could document her thoughts:

Section hike with "Left-eye" mom on the Appalachian Trail in Damascus, Va.

A Mom’s Perspective

“My son, I wish you the strength to face challenges with confidence… along with the wisdom to choose your battles carefully… I wish you adventure on your journey and may you always stop to help someone along the way… listen to your heart and take risks carefully… Remember how much you are loved… I am so proud of you!” 

1.) What were your initial thoughts when I told you I was going to thru hike the Appalachian Trail?

“My initial thoughts, pretty much in this order, when you told me you were going to hike the A.T:
-No, he’s not
-If he starts , he won’t last a week. He won’t have his bed, t.v., plumbing, or his dogs.
-will he survive a wild animal attack?
-will he stay warm?
-what if he gets sick and he’s alone?
-he’s smart, he’s innovative; he COULD really do this!
-this could be a life changing experience!
-this is the one time in his life he could actually go without serious obligations that would keep in home
-this is gonna be fun
-I hope he does it!”

2.) What are you MOST worried about in regards to my thru hike?

“My biggest fear is that IF you didn’t make a thru hike, you would totally beat yourself up (unless of course, an emergency made you leave the trail)”.

3.) How did our section hike on the A.T. change your outlook on a thru hike?

 “Accompanying you on a short section of the AT made me aware of just how much beauty hikers get to “live” in throughout their hike. I knew that the terrain would require hikers to have strength and endurance. I quickly found out where I was lacking…”

4.) Do you think I will be successful in making it to Katahdin? Why or why not? 

“I think , without a doubt, that you can do this hike in its entirety because you are determined. It’s your own doubt that’s deterred any unreached goals”.

5.) What advice would you offer to moms of current or future thru hikers about to embark on a journey like this? 

“My advice to mother’s of potential hikers; let them go. Encourage them to try. Make sure they have an “out” plan that does not involve you driving ‘eleventy billions’ of hours to pick them up on the trail :-P”.

Haha! Thanks, Mom! I love you very much!

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Comments 5

  • Susan mudsmeller : Feb 3rd

    Interesting twist. I, 62 YO mom and grandma asking the same of my children as I plan my 2017 thru hike.
    Thanks asking the questions!

  • Kylie Torrence : Feb 4th

    “Eleventy billions of hours” hahahah! I love this post! I’ll have to send it to my mom to read 🙂

    • Nick Parsons : Feb 4th

      Thanks a lot! I appreciate that! 🙂

  • Legs(Trailname) : Feb 5th

    I wish you the most amazing adventure ever and my you reach your dreams. Love that support you have from YO MOMMA 🙂 Will def be following your journey, hopefully one day I can do the same.

  • Leigh : Feb 6th

    Thanks for the post! I’m dropping my son off at Amicalola Falls on March 9th-just one week after his 18th birthday. I love hearing the perspective of other parents, especially moms, it helps confirm that I am not crazy in my own thoughts!


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