A Thank You to Our Support System
The day is finally here. Tonight, my parents will drop Cooper and I off at Campo, mile zero. We’ll pitch our tent, maybe play a couple card games, and then ultimately toss and turn in our conjoined sleeping quilt all night waiting for daylight to come. And when it finally does… we’ll be off on our way. Hiking across California, Oregon, and Washington to the Canadian border.
We never take the easy path, I suppose.
With the impending beginning fast approaching, now seems like as good a time as any to give a shout out to our ultimate trail angels; the incredible support system of friends and family cheering us on from afar.
To those who raised us
So many times, Cooper and I were asked the age old question, “What do your parents think about this whole PCT nonsense?”
Both of us laugh when asked this question. When it comes to parents, we hit the jackpot.
My parents, affectionately trail named Glow in the Dark and 3 Guy, have been section hiking the PCT for six years now. They’re response when I expressed my own interest in a thru hike? Without an ounce of hesitation in their voice, “Go for it!” I’ve never had to convince my parents of my next moves, and even if there was ever doubt in my path, they’ve always given me the space to choose my own adventures and figure things out on my own. The unconditional love and support has meant the world to me.
When it comes to Cooper’s parents, there’s been nothing but excitement. Cooper’s dad, Joe, printed a floor to ceiling PCT map and put it up in their living room. Julie hopes to go on a walk everyday we’re out on the trail to feel a connection with us, and Joe will track where we are on the trail to stay engaged with our process. Every conversation with them is filled with excitement and questions about our adventures to come, and their unconditional support, also, has meant everything to us.
Our “trail guardians”
When we first started talking about hiking the PCT, we had so many people ask us how they could help. I often don’t feel comfortable asking for help, but after much discussion we decided to start a GoFundMe page.
We were overwhelmed by the immediate support from friends, family, and sometimes complete strangers. It was so incredible to us how willing people were to give, and the wonderfully supportive messages that came along with each donations.
In an attempt to honor each of our donors, we volunteered our time with organizations whose missions were important to our donors. Honestly, though, I’ll never feel like we could do enough to thank everyone for their donations. The kindness of others never cease to amaze us, and without all of their support, we wouldn’t have been able to make this journey possible.
This extends also to our network of friends and family who have all asked to send us letters and packages along the trail. Being able to hear from all of you while we’re out on the trail will be the greatest connection to home we could ever receive.
The communities we identify with
Over the years, Cooper and I have been so fortunate to be a part of a number of incredible communities.
AmeriCorps, Encinitas and Winona, Duluth, for Cooper the Brewhouse and Chipotle and for me, Parks and Rec, Yoga North, and the handful of other jobs I’ve held while in Northern Minnesota, and of course the climbing community. Within each we’ve had so many opportunities to meet incredible people who have inspired and shaped us into the people we are today. And in each, we’ve found people who have wanted to hear about our goals and who fully support our growth as individuals and a couple.
There’s something about knowing how excited others are for our trip that has been deeply motivating. Sometimes it feels selfish to be receiving help for our hike and to be taking so much time off to be away from the communities we’ve come to feel a part of. The energy all of you have expressed towards our trip though has helped quiet those insecurities like nothing else could. If we hit a rough patch, thinking about you all and you’re excitement towards what we’re doing will be the ultimate motivation to trudge on.
And the time has finally come…
We’ve been anxiously awaiting today since the day we started talking about hiking the PCT, nearly two years ago as we were living out of Cooper’s hammock in Crown King, AZ.
Who knows what we’ll find over the next thousands of miles, but whatever it is we’re both so grateful to have the support, love, excitement, energy, etc. from all of our at home trail angels. You all have made a world of difference, and we can’t wait to share our adventures with each of you.
Until then, happy trails!
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