My hiking partner!

Rachel and me on one of our early training hikes. South Kettle Moraine, April 2012.

Rachel and me on one of our early training hikes. South Kettle Moraine, April 2012.

I forgot I wrote up an entire entry to post for when Rachel made the announcement that she was hiking with me. With all the excitement of that happening, I totally forgot to make my post! Well, better late than never, so here it is!

RACHEL IS GOING TO THRU-HIKE THE PCT WITH ME!

So you already know that my husband, Adam, is going along with me on this PCT journey as my super-awesome vehicle support guy/bounce-box on 4 wheels. Well, he’s actually OUR super-awesome vehicle support guy! He’ll be supporting both Rachel and me as we hike north from Mexico to Canada. How awesome is that!?

As I’ve probably mentioned, Adam and I have been planning this for quite a while, and Rachel is the very first person I told when we finally came up with our ‘plan in phases.’ I told her about the PCT and truck-driving afterward. I mostly wanted to get the opinion from a trusted friend to see what their reaction was. Were we nuts? Did it matter if we were?

When I told her, we were in the beginning of an overnight 32-mile hike — I was training for the 2012 Frozen Otter at the time, and she agreed to go on a couple of crazy training runs with me (I should’ve known right there she was as crazy as me and would be going along! Haha!). She was totally supportive of the hike and the career change — she thought it was a cool idea. We had lots of time to talk, and she had lots of time to think. What I didn’t know was that she would decide to go with us!

We all decided it was best to keep this all a secret at first. It didn’t make sense to raise a ruckus unless we were sure we could pull it all off. Big things had to happen before we were certain… between the three of us, there was a house to put on the market, money to be saved, downsizing to do, collecting of gear and food, debts had to be paid down, and pets had to find new homes. For me and Adam, once we were at a point where we were pretty sure we were going to make it, we told our parents. That was last summer. Then as we got closer to our goals, we told our employers and our close friends.

I gave my notice at work a little sooner than Rachel did, since Adam and I were taking off a month before the hike to take a giant road-trip.  So we “spilled the beans” a little before Rachel was ready. So it was challenging to keep that secret while wanting to shout our excitement! Now it’s all out there! Yay!

I’m so excited to have Rachel hiking with me. We’ve been really close backpacking buddies for a few years now – we met through the Fox Cities Backpackers Meetup Group at meetup.com (look it up! It’s awesome!). We went on a lot of trips together, and found that we had a very similar sense of humor, and just got along really well in general. I feel very close to her after this past year, as we found we can talk and laugh at just about anything. Mostly ourselves, but that’s one of the great things about our friendship. She has definitely become one of my very best friends.

Since she decided she was going with us, we’ve been on a whole bunch of training hikes. We’ve done long day hikes anywhere from 10 miles to 30 miles. Our biggest training hike was our “Pictured Rocks Crazy Hike,” which was 42 miles in two days. It was awesome. We do a really good job of pushing each other when we’re feeling down or tired. When we’re both tired, we somehow switch off bursts of energy and positivity. When we’re both excited and energetic, it’s kind of scary how jittery and silly we can get. But that’s what makes it so fun.

Hiking as a team on such a long hike has its pros and cons, and we’ve discussed these all openly. Pros are obvious – having someone to share the experience with step by step, company on low days, company on high days, safety in numbers, a person to share some of the weight with, help with navigational decisions, etc. The cons are mostly related to the fact that there is a chance we could be forced to split off for any number of reasons. One of us could get injured, we could need some solo time, or we could just get plain old sick of each other. We’ve discussed everything we could think of, but we’re going to do what we can to stick together as a team. Plans can change, but we all know that and are willing to “roll with it.”

The bottom line is this: We make a damn good hiking team and we have a lot of fun!

We’re excited! Have I mentioned that yet?

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