View Full Version : Worried Women

12-22-2005, 00:01
How have thru-hiker successfully dealt with worried women, both mothers and significant others? I guess this also applies to other loved ones, but only the above two women seem to be worried about me thru-hiking.

12-22-2005, 01:04
My girlfriend said she'll be gone before I get back... very supportive:rolleyes:

12-22-2005, 01:20
That's easily translated to: I don't understand. I've decided; some will never understand, it is not meant to be. Live your life and it will all come out w/ the wash.;)

12-22-2005, 06:45
With every winter trip I make my wife worries less and less. I was back packing before we married in 1976 so she says that she finally accepts the fact that "I'll not do anything stupid".

12-22-2005, 11:38
For your mate, your on your own. My mother's main concerns boiled down to 1] if I knew what I was doing 2] if I would be cold and rained on and miserable 3] kooks on the trail.

I pretty much just walked her through my plans. I pulled out the atlas, and pointed out where the trail was and where I'd be stopping to get food. It helped her to see how frequent and close to civilization I'd be. She's familiar with N.GA from day-hikes, so when she got the idea that it was just more of the same, she got more comfortable.

I gave my parents a copy of the Companion and Databook, so they could read and follow along. My parents also seemed to like reading Jim Owen's "Thru-Hiking Papers", and I xeroxed a couple other articles and sections from other books I thought they would like so they could hear other hikers' experiences.

I also had a show-and-tell with all my gear. "This is what I'll sleep in at night--look at how fluffy and thick and warm. This is what I cook on--look at that hot blue flame. This is my huge first aid/ fire kit. This is my shelter--let's spray it with a hose and admire how weatherproof it is." [okay, so I secretly tossed out a lot of the emergency kit :)]

Good luck.

12-22-2005, 11:46
I concur that a thorough review of your schedule, updated periodically as you reach key trail towns with a phone, can help put your significant others at ease. Whistler's demonstration of their gear isn't something that I ever had to go through because everyone knew that I did so much research that I had to have the right stuff, and no one questioned my ability to use the gear because I was an Eagle Scout (although that is insufficient in and of itself).

I've bristled at my wife's repeated requests to bring a cell phone, and only gotten away without one because she knows how much of a difference a lighter pack makes at my age, and I've convinced her that there are quite a few other people on the AT during most months of the year. As a thru-hiker starting in March or April you should frequently encounter other hikers throughout your trip.

12-22-2005, 12:14
My family and friends were not happy with my decision to thru hike but they are becoming a bit more relaxed after seeing how much time I am putting into getting prepared for the trail. My mom expecially likes the bear mace velcroed and bungied to the strap of my pack. I showed her that it is very easily accessible in case of an emergency. My mom is most worried about wild animals and didn't seem as concerned about freaky people. I guess the bear mace can go either way.

Bear mace on one side, whistle on the other. Works for me and her.

I'm sure your mom and girlfriend will come around.

hammock engineer
12-22-2005, 12:28
I am getting mixed reactions from everyone. It's funny when I tell people I am going on a hike for 5 months. Some people think I'm crazy, some people think it is great.

My mom and girl friend are actually the top 2 supports of me doing it. I guess they realize they can't talk me out of it. My sister seems to be the most worried. She'll come around.

I'll have to try the gear demo. I am going to leave a couple books with them over Christmas to read.

12-22-2005, 12:36
Bear mace? It's a little late now, but I don't think you had enough fun during the terrible twos. My mom rubbed bacon and Honey on my pack and wished me well.;)

Seriously, I think the itinerary and keeping in touch is a big help. I did mail drops. It sounds selfish but I think making mom mail the boxes made her feel connected, in control, and gave her something else to worry about.

12-24-2005, 16:18
She could always come with you. I am and look forward to it, actually was my idea to begin with.
Despite no experience and fear of heights and snakes I am determined.
Fifure it will either make or break our relationship and show us what we are made of.

12-24-2005, 16:33
We went out and got a big dehydrator and she would cook, dehydrate and mail drop the food. Also she maintained my trail journals for me via pocketmail and mailing SD cards from the camera.
She helped with planning, ressupply and spreadsheets, emergency drops and moral support. I was just like a wind up toy that had to keep moving.. I owe her a lot..(Indentured servitude for five years or more!) She and others vicariously hiked along with me though and it was a team effort. Maybe someday she will join me in real life...

Just Jeff
12-24-2005, 17:39
Some people get it and others don't. My wife worries every time I go out and she's never understood the need. By now she just accepts that it's something I have to do...when I get grumpy, she tells me to go take a hike (and she's serious).

I think it helped her to see me take a few short trips, come through unscathed, and see the difference in my attitude when I got back. Maybe it would help your mom and SO be more comfortable if you involved them in your shake-down hikes by talking about lessons learned, how much fun you had, the people you met, etc. Show them you can handle yourself and that it's something you really enjoy. They may never understand it, but at least they might come to accept your need to do it.

My thru is still many years away so your circumstances are a little different from mine, but that's what worked for me.

12-24-2005, 19:18
My girlfriend is pretty supportive. I think it helps that my corporation is so evil. The through-hike is seen as something that will move me from that path, and towards something that will make me a happier man.

My family, on the other hand, are insane. The Baker Act has been mentioned. They don't see how a man my age with my current standing with "the company" could throw all of it away and walk for six months.

12-24-2005, 21:00
I personally would call once in awhile so they know your alive and hike on :rolleyes: .If they really care about you than they will enjoy your return,5months is not 5yrs:banana ,well in my case it was,ky

12-27-2005, 13:32
How have thru-hiker successfully dealt with worried women, both mothers and significant others? I guess this also applies to other loved ones, but only the above two women seem to be worried about me thru-hiking.

not a thru hiker, but spend a lot of time 'gone'.

take them hiking with you on a short trip. show them your gear, how it's used, how competent you are with it, and how comfortable you can be in the woods. if you're lucky and run into some other hikers, they can see what a friendly lot most of us are, how we look out for each other (directions, weather news, what's ahead, what's behind, etc.), and how much nicer it is on the trail than at the mall, where you're lucky to make eye contact with a stranger, let alone talk for a few minutes.

also, call home often... women seem to like that a lot... makes them feel like you are concerned with their feelings. (and despite that somewhat tongue in cheek remark, if you live long enough, you'll eventually discover they've been right all along... you just can't ever admit it though...)

12-27-2005, 13:54
Bear mace on one side, whistle on the other. Works for me and her.

I'm taking bets these will be history by Fontana. No, make that Hiawassee.

And you'll still have a great, safe hike. Best wishes...

12-27-2005, 14:36
Moms are *ALWAYS* going to worry. Does not matter if you are 10 or 30 or 50. It is their job. :)

What I found helpful with my family (esp. for my first long hike) was showing them books about the AT. Ones with great photos help. Get the family a map of the AT. That way they can follow along the journey and will feel involved in it.

My Mom (and Dad) were a bit worried about me. No one left the family fold for that long of time. But you know what? They became so enthused about the trip as it went on. The local post office asked Mom about me because she came in once a week (roughly) to mail out packages. She was a proud mom. That is also ther job. :) Unknown to me, the local paper did an article about me. (Dad called them) Mom was so excited she grabbed at least 5 copies of the local paper.

Guess what I am trying to say is that though your Mom may have fears, in the end she will be one of your biggest cheerleaders. Moms are like that! Look at Squeaky's Mom. She is a bit worried..but you can tell she is (quite rightfully) proud of Squeaky and very supportive.

Now..as far as significant others...still working on that. My track record the past two years has not been the best with finding someone understanding of my passion. :)

Also, Jim O's excellen thru-hiking papers were mentioned. EVERY thru-hiker should read it. The link is at: http://www.spiriteaglehome.com/THP%20top.html