People hike the AT for a lot of reasons. Many people get on the trail because they are in periods of transition: post-college graduation, empty nesters or newly retired. Some people start a thru-hike seeking an outdoors, rugged adventure in which "to find" themselves.
Most people don't attempt thru-hikes as a family unit smack dab in the middle of the child raising, educating, income earning years.
So, why are we doing it?
- We see thru-hiking as the next step in our family hiking journey. We have been hiking together for more than seven years, since our youngest was a toddler. Irregular jaunts grew into a once a week commitment to family hiking; most of those years in the White Mountains of New England. Regular lightweight hiking grew into a desire for regular family backpacking. Weekend backpacking planted a seed for thru-hiking. And here we are.
- We love the mountains. We are inspired by the mountains and we identify with mountain culture and activities. We want to spend as much time as possible in the mountains.
- We want to live the kind of story that inspires us. We are inspired by stories of adventure and beauty, challenge and transformation. Thru-hiking is the kind of story we want to live.
- We want to take our lightweight living philosophy to the next level. For years we have been carefully evaluating our relationship with stuff and questioning our need to own and amass a wealth of goods. Living in the outdoors, with only the goods we can carry on our backs, feels like the next step in practicing this philosophy.
- We want build our livelihood on interesting projects and unique experiences. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is the kind of work we want to do and the kind of experience we want to build our work around. We want to live adventures and share them.
Our mission is to live an inspired and inspiring life. As a family, we are inspired by people who embark on courageous, beautiful, and challenging journeys.
We are embarking on this adventure with our kids, purposefully while they are still living at home, because we want to teach them, by learning alongside them, how to accomplish amazing things.
As homeschoolers, we want to equip our children with something far greater than facts. We want to equip them with experience. We want our kids to know in their bones (and aching muscles) how to set and accomplish goals, recognize personal strengths, work as a team, and overcome difficult obstacles. We believe thru-hiking will teach us this mindset in the context of the natural world and family life.
In short, we want to have an amazing, life changing outdoors adventure with our three children in their teen and pre-teen growing years. (Our kids will be 11, 13 and 15 when we're on the trail.)