How to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail with Your Spouse (Or Loved One)

<editor’s note> The following post is provided by Jeremy “Timber” Scroggins.  Check out their videos at Hitched Hike.  Timber and Little Engine: the world eagerly awaits your next adventure.”

Because I know the topic of hiking with a loved one is on the minds of many prospective thru-hikers, I asked Jeremy to share his secrets on not only how to accomplish this, but to grow closer in the process.  His insights are below.  Take it, Jeremy…</editor’s note>

Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Your Spouse

Hitched Hike

Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is a very difficult feat within itself, and even more so when taking it on with the same person for 6 months.

Well, this is what some people would have you believe. It could, can, and has been true. Ultimately though, it’s completely up to the couple whether or not they are successful and have a good time.

Imagine that taking on such feat is something that you’ve been dreaming to do for years and there is nothing that can stop you from completing your goal. Then tack on that your spouse, your partner in crime, your best friend, and your most very bestest person in the world feels the same way. It becomes something else entirely. A common goal, shared by two people that are, in essence, one. Failure is not only not an option, it’s simply incomprehensible.

There are some amazing benefits to thru-hiking with the love of your life, but the relationship has to be in good order before doing something as “crazy” as a thru-hike. It does get stressful, and things rarely work out the way you think they will.

Here’s a simple checklist to see if you are ready to hike as a couple:

  1. I love my spouse like crazy.
  2. We are a team and can handle anything and everything.
  3. I want to spend every moment with my spouse.

If you answered, “Yes!” to all three, then you can expect the following, at least:

  1. Share the most amazing moments together.
  2. Have someone to talk to, anytime.
  3. Work through hard times, together.
  4. Pull each other up when the other falls (figuratively and literally).
  5. More safety, security, and tranquility.
  6. Go somewhere private and do private things together… *cough* anytime we want. (Something others our age are often envious of.)

These lists are not just for hiking, it applies to every aspect of a marriage.

There will always be difficult moments in your relationship, but you have to set priorities. Is this one disagreement worth more to me than our relationship and our happiness? When you stop to think about what’s going on and why you feel the way you do, you always know the real answer. It’s important to remember this throughout life and especially on trail. You never know what will happen, and you always have to keep your heart open to what’s important: living life, especially with the one you love. Try not to let hard times break down your equanimity. Be strong for yourself and your spouse, for they will be strong for you when you need it most.

Most of all, keep the faith. The foundation of our marriage is built on Christ. We consider ourselves to be blessed everyday with having each other to share our lives.

Two as one. Unstoppable.

Jeremy Scroggins, “Timber” of Hitched Hike, Thru-Hiker 2013

<editor’s note> A major thanks to Jeremy for his unique relationship / long distance backpacking insight.  If you have a subject you consider yourself uniquely knowledgable / passionate about like Jeremy and want to share it with our community, contact me ([email protected]) about contributing a guest post to Appalachian Trials. </editor’s note>

Affiliate Disclosure

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.

What Do You Think?