My Grandbabies Will be in My Thoughts on the Trail

I am so blessed to be a grandmother. I’m not sure there is anything sweeter than wonderful little grandbabies. I currently have one grandson and two granddaughters; however, it seems as though I will have one more near the end of my hike.  I would love to be able to hike with my grandchildren someday and to help them develop a love for it.  As I set out on Wednesday to begin my thru-hike my thoughts will turn to the grandkids, as always, and how I can continue to keep the trail alive and how I can give back to the trail. If I’m not proactive about conservation there may not be a trail for them to love.

I have been debating on the final pack items—like whether to take my Helinox chair. It’s 1.5 pounds and it’s a real struggle as to whether or not to carry the extra weight. My oldest granddaughter wants me to leave it with her and yet I think of being able to sit in it and read comfortably in the evening before turning in for the night. I mean, it’s only 1.5 pounds and at the same time—it is 1.5 pounds!  The struggle is real.

I don’t fear many things, but my knees not being able to handle the daily punishment of the trail is my biggest concern. I have wanted to thru-hike since I did my first section in 2008, but knowing the shape my knees are in makes me apprehensive. The only other fear I have is ticks. Now some may think I’m crazy because of that—like they think I should be more afraid of bears or snakes, but usually I see bears and snakes and can avoid them; however, ticks sneak up on you and you don’t always see them until they have wreaked havoc on your body. I fear them.  I have seen many people fight Lyme disease and the toll it takes, so yeah, I’m afraid of ticks. I am proactive and spray my clothes and gaiters, but I cannot hike in pants—I would overheat in a matter of minutes.

As I prepare to hike, some of it is just going over gear, making good choices in order to save weight; but much of getting prepared is also mental. Am I truly ready for hiking in the rain and cold?  As it looks right now that’s what we’ve got for the first 13 days of hiking at the moment. I don’t mind hiking in the mist or light rain, but we’re supposed to have storms. That means getting up early and hiking in order to get into the shelter before the storms hit in the afternoon. I’m not a morning person.  But I know that I must make myself get up and get going or risk getting caught in the storms. That is my mental battle.

Even with the concerns, I am prepared for a life-changing journey of a lifetime.  I know the person I start the trail as will not be the person I end the trail as.  I am so very blessed to have a husband who loves me and encourages me to chase my dreams. I would never be able to hike like this without his loving support. He is truly an amazing man.

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Comments 1

  • Rob Rosset : May 15th

    Go for it girl! I plan on retiring at 60 (1.5 years to go) and the 1st thing on my list is to hike either the AT or the PCT. Like you, my knees and back are suffering from “too many birthdays” but I’m gonna give it my all! Good luck Julie !


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