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ec.hiker
12-07-2010, 23:53
My daughters mother and I are split up and have been for a long time. MY daughter will be three in July. I want to do a thru hike but am not sure if I am being selfish and should put ir off 16 years until she graduates highschool. Her mother says that she thinks it will be fine I might even be able to find internet cafes in some of the trail towns to skype them with. I am very close with my daughter and we sspend 2 to 4 days a week together usually the weekends. I have battled with this in my head constantly and it is the only thing holding me back. I am hoping to get some input from others. At this point I am leaning twords taking a 6 week hike and hanging up the thru hike until she graduates for it won't be long until she and I are hiking together anyways.

jersey joe
12-08-2010, 00:18
Tough call man, I know I'd have a heck of a time leaving my kid...Is there anyway to involve her in some way? Maybe meet you out on the trail from time to time? Maybe carry a cell phone and call her as often as possible, she could follow your progress on a map with push pins or something? You could always hook up with crazyhair and do a speed hike, then you would only be gone for 60 days or so....

HiKen2011
12-08-2010, 00:18
Wow that's a tough one! Only you can answer that I'm afraid. I plan to hike this yr (2011) and I have a 10 yr old who I plan to see along the way, her Mom and Her will visit along the way. So that helps me, as for you, again, only you can decide that. Good luck!

ec.hiker
12-08-2010, 00:54
No way I am speed hiking thanks for the advise though. I am going to keep preparing for my hike and when the time comes I will decide weather or not to hop over the fence..

skinewmexico
12-08-2010, 01:10
Wait until she's a few years older and take her with you. Or wait until she's in school, and become her show and tell. The class could track your project, and you could email in dispatches.

drastic_quench
12-08-2010, 07:58
Go now. Three is a good age for this sort of thing, and there's loads of childhood left. Kids are incredibly resilient and adaptable. Really, there's no reason to believe that this would even stress the girl.

Rocket Jones
12-08-2010, 08:04
I'd say go for it. Write frequently, call when able, send her pictures of you on the trail and places you've seen. Send a map so she can follow along (she'll get the hang of it soon enough). When you get home, bring out a bunch of little gifts like stickers and postcards from along the way. I'll bet she'd love her own bandana.

10-K
12-08-2010, 10:57
I normally stay away from this type thread but.... :)

"I think" that while you are gone your relationship with your ex is probably more important than your relationship with your daughter.

Meaning, if your ex will reassure her that you'll be back, etc. etc. when your daughter asks about you that would make it a whole lot easier.

And of course you can call often and talk to her.

And when she turns 3 she'll still be more 2 than 3 if you know what I mean.... I've got 3 kids and when they were 2 I don't think they'd really "miss me" the way I miss them....

Cookerhiker
12-08-2010, 11:03
Given that she's only 3, you're close to her, and spend a fair amount of time with her, I don't think you should thruhike. Understand that for a 3 year-old, 5-6 months absence is an interminably long time. I'm no psychologist by any means but I don't think that absence will help your relationship. At that age, children begin to form personality traits that often last the rest of their lives.

Why can't you break the year into a few section hikes and come home between to visit her. So you may not finish 100% of the Trail now in one year but pick up the remainder in the future. There's nothing wrong with finishing the Trail as a section hiker.

Tilly
12-08-2010, 11:43
Your daughter is much more important than a thruhike, especially if she is used to seeing you 2-4 days a week. She is just a baby. Stick to sections, wait until she is older. Maybe she can come with you, even in part, later in time. The trail isn't going anywhere, but your daughter will only be a kid for a short while

I know that this is an unpopular opinion...but you asked!

HiKen2011
12-08-2010, 11:51
[QUOTE=drastic_quench;1077019]Go now. Three is a good age for this sort of thing, and there's loads of childhood left. Kids are incredibly resilient and adaptable. Really, there's no reason to believe that this would even stress the girl.[/QUOTE

Excellent point and much truth in the statement as well! I have 2 daughters and when my youngest was three (she's 10 now) I travelled alot and it had little to no affect on her, but it did me! ;)

HiKen2011

Wilson
12-08-2010, 11:57
I could'nt, I'd be miserable without my kids. I know my kids would be too.

Cookerhiker
12-08-2010, 14:06
[QUOTE=HiKen2011;...when my youngest was three (she's 10 now) I travelled alot and it had little to no affect on her, but it did me! ;)

HiKen2011[/QUOTE]

Did your "travelling alot" include a solid 5-6 month absence?

gravityman
12-08-2010, 17:25
No way would I leave my almost 4 year old for 6 months. I just would be way too 'homesick' for him. But I'm still married. Might be different in your shoes...

I would do sections until they are old enough to come with you.

I took my 3.5 year old for a 3 day backpacking trip. 2 miles to the campsite, and base out of there both nights. By the spring your daughter will be ready for that!

Gravity

4eyedbuzzard
12-08-2010, 18:57
Well, there's about 200,000 men and women over in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, many of whom have young children. Add 10's of thousands regularly at sea for months at a time in the USN, USMC, USCG, and Merchant Marine. Then throw in civilians who work overseas often for months to years at a time, and all the other people who can't be with their families for a multitude of reasons.

She'll do just fine,
especially if you keep in touch regularly via phone, pictures, email, or better yet even skype. Technology has really helped compared to the old days.
The big question is will you? ;)

DapperD
12-08-2010, 20:44
Well, there's about 200,000 men and women over in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, many of whom have young children. Add 10's of thousands regularly at sea for months at a time in the USN, USMC, USCG, and Merchant Marine. Then throw in civilians who work overseas often for months to years at a time, and all the other people who can't be with their families for a multitude of reasons.I can understand your reasoning on this but have to disagree with this analogy in regards to someone leaving their child to go on a long distance hike of say a long trail like the AT, and someone leaving their child to say serve their country in the Armed Forces overseas, or as a civilian working for the government, or for a company overseas. In this instance these individuals are away from their families due to necessity. By enlisting and serving or thru their chosen civilian professions, they are away due to necessity. Someone deciding to go hike for 5 to 6 months and leaving a young child is doing it and choosing to do it for themselves and themselves alone. So even though this is similar, it is not exactly the same thing:-?. As far as my opinion on this I think it is really up to the individual to chose wether or not it would be a wise decision to do something like this or not in regards to their own personnal situation.

CrumbSnatcher
12-08-2010, 20:53
like to hear from AWOL on this one!
how he handled it, didn't he have more than one kid at home? when he thru'd

4eyedbuzzard
12-08-2010, 21:03
I can understand your reasoning on this but have to disagree with this analogy in regards to someone leaving their child to go on a long distance hike of say a long trail like the AT, and someone leaving their child to say serve their country in the Armed Forces overseas, or as a civilian working for the government, or for a company overseas. In this instance these individuals are away from their families due to necessity. By enlisting and serving or thru their chosen civilian professions, they are away due to necessity. Someone deciding to go hike for 5 to 6 months and leaving a young child is doing it and choosing to do it for themselves and themselves alone. So even though this is similar, it is not exactly the same thing:-?. As far as my opinion on this I think it is really up to the individual to chose wether or not it would be a wise decision to do something like this or not in regards to their own personnal situation.
The OP knows it's a selfish undertaking (he stated it in his post), and what I generally refer to as a very selfishly motivated 6 month vacation - which sometimes gets me less than polite responses. So I absolutely agree with you that it is not a necessity like military / government service or employment. I was more thinking of the emotional / psychological impact on the OP and his daughter, which I don't think is as devastating as some might suggest. Lots of people spend time away from their families / children without any traumatic consequences. I also think it will be much harder on him than on his daughter.

LIhikers
12-11-2010, 23:15
Or you could just join the ranks of us section hikers right now.
You'll still be able to do the whole trail it's just that it will take more time and dedication, it'll be just as hard, or harder physically, and may cost more in money and other intangibles.
A 2000 miler is a 2000 miler no matter how many outings it takes you to get there.

Awol2003
12-12-2010, 11:19
like to hear from AWOL on this one!
how he handled it, didn't he have more than one kid at home? when he thru'd

My kids were 5, 8 and 9 when I thru-hiked. This topic, more so than any other consideration, depends on personal circumstances. It worked for me, but I won't claim it's right or wrong for anyone else. I felt that the age-window for my kids worked out well. Younger and older kids are more demanding. When they visited me in Virginia it was clear that the older two had "bought into" my experience. They enjoyed hearing about it and wanted me to finish. The oldest hiked up Katahdin with me. This is what I wrote about kids in the epilogue:

"My daughters, especially my youngest, missed me. Being
away from home for long stretches cannot be a way of life.
Still, it is important for parents to continue to live their own
lives. We cant sit by and say weve already made our decisions,
done our striving, and dish out opinions on the doings
of our children. Words alone lack authority, and we risk
making them surrogates for the life wed like to lead. We
can better relate to the budding aspirations of our children
if we follow dreams of our own."

Smile
12-12-2010, 11:48
You already know the answer, this is why you are questioning your decision to leave your 3 year old behind. :)

The trail is not going anywhere.......