When people find out that I’m going to thru-hike the AT, there are 2 usual reactions. In order of frequency, they are:
1) Your wife is going to let you do that?
2) Your job is giving you the time off?
I’ll address the second another time, but for the first, I usually respond with 2 answers:
1) I have a wonderful wife who is excited about supporting my dream.
2) I made it a condition of us getting married.
I’m actually not joking about the second, I actually did make it a condition of us getting married. At the time I think she half-thought I was kidding; half-thought because she knew that this was something I truly did want to do someday. However part of getting married is supporting each other to accomplish your dreams, and this is one of mine. It has been for at least 11 years. When I get back it will be her turn 🙂
Now for my first answer. Christy truly is wonderful, and the key word in my usual answer is “supporting”. Christy is going to play a key role in helping me accomplish my dream. She is going to be coordinating my zero days, mailing my mail drops, meeting me periodically along the way, taking care of the dog and cat and everything else at home, and I’m sure tons of other things I can’t think of right now. My hike is also in many ways going to be her hike.
Perhaps the best way to explain it is through the words of the wife of one of this year’s thru-hikers. Rusty Bumper is one of the thru-hikers I followed on trailjournals.com this year. He gave one entry to his wife so she could explain what she does, how she handles him being gone, and how she feels about his hike. I’ll let her tell you in her own words. Feel free to read the rest of the journal; he updated it daily and I found it to be a fun read.