A Letter to my Father, Rainbow Express
It’s only been less than a week since you passed away but it feels like it’s been years. The days have dragged on and on without you. I know you’re in a better place now but the selfish part of me wishes you could have stayed with us longer.
You still had so many things to do. And I’m sure there’s a hundred stories you never got to tell me about your amazing life. You were supposed to be here for me this year to help me hike the Appalachian Trail. I know how excited you were to be able to help Skywalker and I follow our dreams. You were more excited to help us hike the trail than you were to hike the trail again yourself.
I’m just so glad I was able to spend a week with you last year hiking from Springer Mountain to Neels Gap. You kept telling me I could hike ahead of you and not to let you slow me down but I didn’t want to because I enjoyed all the stories you told me as we walked through the woods and up and down mountains. I will cherish that week of time spent with you for the rest of my life. I love you dad. Please watch over me as I hike the trail this year.
And yes, I’m not letting your death postpone my trip.
I know you would be so mad if I pushed it off to another year. I’m more scared now than ever to go on this adventure but I feel as though I have to do it. And dad, every step I take will be for you. All my life I’ve always wanted to be just like you. Ever since hearing about your 1980 thru-hike I’ve wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail and I’m going to do everything I can to make it the whole way. I’m so fortunate to have had a father like you to look up to. Thank you for teaching me to be adventurous, brave, and to follow my dreams. I love you so much daddy and I promise to make you proud.
– Kirsten, “Shutterbug”
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.
Your sensitive and thoughtful heartfelt prose are a reflection of your beautiful father/daughter bond, a treasure that will carry you through difficult days and heighten the joyful times that will also be in your future.
Your hike will be all the more meaningful and emotional and I will think if you often ❤️
Thanks for sharing your story, sorry for your loss and wishing you a magical trip on the trail full of healing and peace. I’ll be out there to doing a Nobo flip flop thru hike starting from Tennessee in April.
Kirsten, i am sorry about your Dad! The At is a great expereince and I feel that you always leave part of your Self and Soul there in some maybe unexplainable way . Been fortunate to have hiked the aT 3 x during the 1980’s and try to get back as much as possible to source. The AT is a great place to help heal and process some of your grief among many caring people and help you clarify what you want to do post college. I hope that you can be able to have some solitude along the way. There will be others here processing grief for a variety of reasons. Your father’s spirit was and is a part of the AT-his desire to help others was just a part of his lifeling commitment. Take Care, 2Spirits
I met you and your father briefly in Ft. Montgomery, NY at the northern edge of the zoo. If memory serves I hitched a ride with ya over to or from bear mountain pizza, I don’t remember which it was. Your father was a good man, I could see that with just one brief passing. He had that hiking spirit, tlan enthusiasm for life that makes the trail such a wonderful place to be. I’m incredibly sorry for your loss…I wish you the best of luck with your hike, and I hope the woods provide you with some solace. You’re gonna crush that hike, don’t sweat it
Kirsten, thank you for sharing thoughts of your father with us. As the father of a 17 year old daughter, I found your words very touching. I’m sure your father is very proud of you and will be with you every step of the way. The two of you have inspired me to make time for more hikes with my own daughter.
Your story touches my heart. I just recently lost my dad and wish I could take one more hike with him. He taught me backpacking from a very small age and hiked up to his death. I miss him so much. Wishing you all the luck on your trip.
Kirsten, I know you can do it!!! you had the best teacher and he’s going to be right there with you!!! keep in touch!!