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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    thru hikes and family, can it be done???

    So I'm planning on doing the Oregon part of the PCT. Its roughly 4 weeks. To all of you with family's how do you do it and was it worth it ???

  2. #2
    Dutch's Avatar
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    I did 5 1/2 months to hike the AT. Back then it was just my wife and I. Except for the first month and the last month she came to see me every 2 weeks. It was good to be centrally located on PA. Now that we are Dutch and Dutchess plus one I don't think I could do it. It would be too hard for her to come see me. It was also stressful for her to work, do everything around the house, send my mail drops, and come visit. There would be no time to be a single parent. So I think it depends on where you are with your family. If my rug rat was older then it would make 4 weeks much easier.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Depends on your family.

    I don't want this to sound wrong, but if they are co-dependent, it can be tough. I saw a couple of relationships go down the drain on the AT, but that was also 6 months instead of 4 weeks. Best piece of advice I can offer on family and thru hikes is to keep them involved with your hike however possible. If you weren't planning to do mail-drops, you should consider it. It is a nice way for the family to keep in touch with you and feel that they are helping you to do something you want to do.

    I'm of the belief that a thru-hike is a selfish act. Not necessarily a bad thing, but going out to spend time doing something you like doing without those who love you, is by definition selfish. I think it pays to keep that in mind while you are hiking, so that you can show your appreciation at every opportunity. Just my $0.02.
    Trust nobody!

  4. #4
    Senior Member guySmiley's Avatar
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    4 weeks is a long time to be away from family, but it's not that long. Neither is 6 months. If what you're doing is running away or avoiding some problem in your life by disappearing on the PCT, you'll probably find that the problem is worse when you get back.

    I agree with Cannibal but I'd phrase it a little differently. I think it has more to do with how independent your S.O. is, and how well they can function without you there.

  5. #5
    Senior Member AmericasHammock's Avatar
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    I am a father of two young ones, my boy is 4 and my daughter 3, and married. I don't think I would be able to do that long. One my wife probably wouldn't ever let me leave for that long and put all of the every day responsibilities on her, two my kids are at a point where they are a lot of fun to be around and really need their father, and lastly I don't think I could be away from them for that long of a period of time. I agree that it does seem selfish to do something for myself when other people depend on me and want me to be around. I am actually doing the northville-lake placid trail here in NY in two weeks and I am taking ten days to do that. I feel bad enough going for that long but luckily I live close to the trail and my family is going to meet me at certain points to bring me supplies so I will at the very least see them every few days. Sorry for the rant and to sum it up I agree that long thru hikes and family probably don't mix very well, but depends on the situation and the people involved. Hope that helps a little and good luck with whatever you decide. Just remember that the trail will always be there but these times with your family will not.

  6. #6
    Senior Member catalyst's Avatar
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    I've been wanting to do the JMT in 3 weeks, but with two young children (2 yrs and 2 mos.), its just not in the cards right now. I am looking forward to taking the kids out when they're older. For now, I get away with week long trips and I really enjoy them.
    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

  7. #7
    Senior Member Catavarie's Avatar
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    Right now I'm lucky to get out for an overnighter with all the resposibilities I have at home. But I am planning a Thru-Hike of the AT. I'm looking at no sooner than 7 years from now before I do it though, and I hope to be able to go out and section parts of it before hand to cut down on the amount of time needed to finish it. So while it wouldn't necessarily be a true thru it would be good enough for me. Of course I might have to wait till my wife's passing and I'm in my 80s before I truly get to do a full thru but it has been one of my life goals for as long as I've known of the AT, and it will continue to be a goal I hope to one day achieve, even if I have to finish it in a coffee can.

    Its certainly easier to do a proper thru-hike during those collegate years when your ready to leave the nest and not yet ready to build your own.

    **Opinion Located Below**
    **Feel free to not read any further. **


    I don't see doing a thru hike as a selfish thing. At least no more selfish than someone wanting to go back to college. Its goals in life that give life purpose. You can live your life going from work to home to work , but are you really living or are you just a zombie going through the motions because society says thats the way it is? I want my child to grow up knowing that nothing is impossible, that dreams can be made reality with enough hard work and dedication, and that people who truly love you will support you in whatever you do.

    Its one thing to tell your kids to live their dreams but if you don't live your dreams then how are they suppose to truly believe that? My parents were both told as children to follow their dreams as their parents worked at jobs they hated. Then as a child I was told to follow my dreams while my parents worked jobs they hated. This is cycle that is repeated far more often than people are willing to admit.

    I'm trying to break that cycle by showing my child that it is possible to follow your dreams and still maintain the obligations of life. I love my family and would love to take them with me on a thru hike, but I know that my wife would be miserable day one. My daughter would think it was great and would probably go with me right now and do the whole thing. I try to spend as much time outdoors with my family as they can stand (I can stand much more than them ) And it gives us some great quality time. My wife knows how much I want to do this and she's willing to support me at any point I decide is right for me to go.

    Is it fair to them not to have me around for 6 months? No. But its also not fair to them if I'm never fully there because some small part of me (despite how much I would deny it) becomes resentful for having no hope of realizing my dream either. Having the support and blessing of my family means that I have that first day to look forward and makes my time with them even more precious. For now I'm more than happy to spend this precious time with my family, because none of us truly know how much time we have with those we love.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. YMMV
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  8. #8
    Senior Member hippofeet's Avatar
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    + 1 on everything catavarie said. My parents fought over my father spending so much time flying hang gliders, and making things to do with that hobby. When he finally gave it up, they fought over other things. That's just the relationship they have. My GF argue's against me taking even an overnight hike, on the grounds that I should not WANT to be apart from her. She has RA, so there is no chance she could go. I have always wanted to kayak from northwestern Illinois to the gulf. But I wouldn't dump her to do it. So I will never get to do it. Just one of things, I guess.
    An emergency of my own making...is still an emergency.

  9. #9
    im not married and did 2 - 8 week sections on the AT. everybody at home was involved and it was OK.
    now i have my grandson Jaxon (9 weeks old) and my Dad is in so-so health. most i could do now is 7 days with no guilt. LOL we do guilt well

    i have seen relationships fail because of the trail.

    a little advice............ when you hear it in their voice and feel it in the texts and e-mails "COME HOME" you have a decision to make! if you keep hiking, they will never forget that. if you go home, they will never forget that.
    "Tenting is equivalent to a bum crawling into a cardboard box, hammocking is an art" KK

  10. #10
    Senior Member MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Homer Witcher and his wife home schooled their two children on a thru-hike of the AT.
    The daughter has since thru-hiked the trail on her own.

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