Monday, September 17, 2012

There's No Place Like Home!

The day has come ~ Scarecrow has made it back home to his family after COMPLETING THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL.  Teddy awoke very early Sunday morning, and with more help from our Jump Trail Angels, took a flight from Seattle, and landed in JFK at 8:00 pm.  He collected his backpack and stick, hopped on the Air train to Jamaica, and out to Ronkonkoma where Dakota, Jagger and I were waiting for his arrival.  Even though he was only gone for 26 days this time, we were just as excited to see him as when he was gone for 5 months.  I was happy though, he did not look like the Scarecrow we had greeted last fall.  He looks clean cut, happy, and rested.  We drove home, catching Teddy up on all our news, and he shared some stories of his last days on the PCT.

Of course, I cannot wait to get a hold of his camera to see all of the pictures he took from the last leg of his adventure.  They will be posted as soon as we can, along with the stories that go along with them.  I cannot say enough how appreciative we are for everyone's support and well wishes through out this journey.  Teddy and I both agree we are blessed to have all of you in our lives.

Congratulations Scarecrow ~ 2 trails down, 1 to go.  We are all so proud of you.

Happy, grateful, and blessed,

The Thruhiker's Wife

Friday, September 14, 2012


While out with the family for Jagger's birthday dinner, I received this text and picture:

Northern Terminus of the PCT

"It's a done deal ~ 2,650 miles"

I cannot be more proud of you than I am at this very moment, Teddy.  The smile on your face says it all.  This was your time to be there.  Your determination to finish this trail was inspiring to so many.  I am so happy that you achieved your goal and made this dream a reality.  I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I enjoyed documenting it and following you.

Never more proud, 

The Thruhiker's Wife

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In The Home Stretch...

After almost a week of no communication, I finally heard from Scarecrow.  He called from Stehekin, Washington on Sunday night with nothing but excellent news.  The trails are clear, the weather is beautiful, and he is now only 90 miles away from the "finish line" in Canada.  He expects to complete these 90 miles by Friday afternoon.  He said the landscape he is witnessing is breathtaking and the pictures he took do not do justice to their true beauty.  I am anxious to get a hold of his camera to check out the final pictures of this extraordinary journey.  He explained how he had to buy a calling card and use a "satellite phone" because he is really in the middle of nowhere over in the Northern Cascade Mountains ~ good thing I picked up, because I wasn't going to being that I did not recognize the number.

His plan is to average 20 mile days, give or take a few, and soak in the feelings of accomplishing his dream as he approaches the last days and miles of the United States and Canada that will complete his Pacific Crest Trail experience.

I will not hear from Teddy until after he reaches the monument in Canada and then walks another 8 miles to Manning Park, which is where he will be able to finally see civilization again after being in the woods.  So for the next few days, I hope you will join me in sending Teddy prayers, positive energy, and support as he approaches the end of this emotionally taxing, physically exhausting, spiritually fulfilling, wonderfully exciting and rewarding experience that he has been on over the past year and a half.

We, as a family, have been through something so extraordinary ~ a forever life changing experience that we will cherish and grow from for the rest of our lives.  So many people have asked: how do you handle all of this?  Why were you okay with this?  My answer will always be the same...  I am so proud to be a supporter  and an integral part in helping someone I love achieve their dreams.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  Who am I to say that it is not a realistic goal?  Obviously it is.  Who am I to say that Teddy should not go and live out his dreams?  I am happy I did.  Who am I to say it's not good for my children?  It was a wonderful lesson that they are proud of living through.  Who am I to say?  I am the Thruhiker's Wife.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  To watch it all unfold and hear the determination and enjoyment in his voice whenever he called was such a rewarding experience.  I feel honored to have been able to provide strength, support and love for my husband.  To be able to lead by example for my children ~ to help them learn what it feels like to support someone while they live out their dreams and achieve their goals.  My children learned what compromise and sacrifice were, but in a positive light.  Dakota and Jagger both know that they are a big part of Teddy's success.  As do I.  This experience was a huge life lesson on many different levels that I feel lucky to have learned from.

Personally, I wish everyone could feel and experience all of the positivity that my family felt through this journey.  Surround yourself with the ones you love, make a decision to be happy, live your life, create dreams and goals, and then go out there and accomplish them!!

Until he checks in from the finish line,

The Thruhiker's Wife

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Late Night Check In

google image of Stevens Pass

So, after a wonderful weekend with a group of trail angels that we call family, Teddy was dropped off at the point up in Washington where he had to bail out last November.  He walked up the bail out trail and back onto the PCT and went about 10 miles before calling to check in.  He is making excellent time and is very excited to be walking in the uncharted territory that he missed last fall.  We are both very excited that it worked out so he can finish the trail at the "finish line" up in Canada ~ and he is thinking he will be there in about 9 - 12 days.  As of last night, he had ventured down into Stevens Pass, describing this terrain as more jagged and pointy, instead of the rolling, smoother terrain of Oregon.  

Our excitement for Scarecrow as he moves closer to the monument in growing rapidly every day.  I can only imagine how anxious he is getting.  I will post pictures as soon as they are sent to me.  Please continue sending positive energy and prayers Teddy's way, as they are working and felt by him (and me) daily.  The trail, everyone and everything surrounding this trail adventure has been so kind and welcoming for this last leg of the trip.  For whatever reason, NOW is the time that Teddy was meant to finish this extraordinary goal.  We could not be prouder of you, Scarecrow.

Happy Trails, my love.

The Thruhiker's Wife

Friday, August 31, 2012

Text From Teddy..

Scarecrow <subject: 154 miles>
"It's a done deal.  Part A is complete."

Just thought I would share Teddy's photo.

After speaking with Teddy, this is actually the exact location where he camped before having to bail out of Oregon last fall.  He came back to face the location of that dreadful day.  What a different scene now ~ no snow, just a successful finish.

The Thruhiker's Wife

Oregon Down, Washington to Go!!!

I received a call from Teddy last night ~ he has officially completed the section in Oregon.  Woo-Hoo.  He was picked up this morning by trail angel Lloyd Gust, and driven to Bend, Oregon where he will wait for his buddy Patchwork, another wonderful trail angel.  Patchwork will collect him and drive him from Bend up to The Dalles, Oregon.  This is a major town where he would have been able to catch a greyhound bus at 12:40 am and travel overnight for 8 hours to Pasco, Washington to meet up with our family.  Enter next trail angel Leah Christman.   She has offered to drive 2+ hours from her home to The Dalles, Oregon to collect Scarecrow so he is saved from a 4 hour delay in the bus station, and an 8 hour bus ride to Pasco.  Instead, because of her kindness, he will be with her and our family by tonight, get a great night's rest and be able to spend a fun family filled weekend with the Christman, Jump, and Ruthkowski families.  I have to admit, I am sad we won't be with Teddy as he enjoys our family, but I am so grateful and appreciative for his opportunity to do so.

Until Next Time,

The Thruhiker's Wife

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Go, Speedy Scarecrow!

bing images

The trail has been very kind to Scarecrow.  On Sunday, he had reported that he would have to do some road walking due to fires.  He sounded bummed out, but was happy that he could keep going.  Well, Teddy reported today, that this news was prematurely told.  As he approached the said area, the first fire closure he thought he would encounter opened up just in time for him to continue along the PCT and not step off onto the road.  And his good fortune continued as each closure reopened just before his arrival.  His hiking went as follows: 20 miles on Friday and Saturday, 19.2 miles on Sunday, after a stop at the Elk Lake Resort for a burger and some beer, camping out next to a thruhiker named Saute', and then a whopping 28.8 miles on Monday.  He is checking in today, Tuesday, around 10:00 am (his time) at Willamette Pass, excited for the kindness the trail has shown him.  He has 88 miles of the Oregon trail done in only 4 days.  WOW.  He reports it gets cold at night, down to a touch above freezing, but he is warm in his sleeping bag, and just so thankful there is NO SNOW.  He is scheduled to finish the Oregon section by Friday ~ WOOHOO ~ make his way up to our family in Benton City, Washington for some family time :) and then up to Washington to finally finish off the PCT.  

Grateful for the kind trail,

The Thruhiker's Wife

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quickest Check In Yet!!

I received a 45 second check in from Scarecrow yesterday... He hiked back to back 20 mile days on Friday and Saturday, is on track with his schedule, and feels great.  The weather is perfect, but he had to do a bit of road walking along side the trail, due to some fires in the area.  He said he would call again in a few days with some updates and hopefully pictures.  He sends his best to everyone!

Thankful for his call,

The Thruhiker's Wife

Friday, August 24, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles...

After a safe landing in Seattle, a good night's sleep at the Jump house, some last minute shopping for supplies and some good byes to his Jump trail angels, Scarecrow hopped on the Greyhound and headed down to Portland, Oregon where he got a ride from a trail angel named Patchwork.  This wonderful man, whose real name is Alan Artman, was a gentleman Scarecrow connected with last fall about transportation while on the trail.  He remembered Scarecrow when he contacted him the other day, and was eager to help him get onto the trail. So, he picked Teddy up at the bus station Wednesday night and hosted him overnight, along with another hiker named Mango.  Thursday morning, Teddy got up, hopped on another bus, traveled most of the day across Oregon to a town called Bend.  He has had so much generosity from trail angels, and his journey has just begun.  While on board, Teddy decided to give up his seat so two elderly ladies could sit together and chat it up.  He ended up sitting next to a man named Robert Kennedy, who was a day hiker traveling back to his home.  Of course, conversation came up about what Teddy was doing and by the end of the trip, Robert went into his luggage and grabbed a bag of almond M & M's for Teddy to take on his trip.  Thank you for your trail magic, Mr. Kennedy.  Every little bit helps!!

Another trail angel, Lloyd Gust, picked him up and helped him get settled for the night in a local motel, and would be ready to collect him in the morning and drop him on the trail.  Finally!!!
Teddy's journey began in our car, to the train, to a plane, to a bus, to a car, to another three buses and finally a car.  Three days of plenty of mileage, but none on the trail.  Needless to say, he is very anxious to begin.

He was taken this morning, by Lloyd, from Bend, to the trail located at Santium Pass, where he will travel southbound towards Crater Lake.  I want to thank you, Lloyd ~ Teddy has said you are a wonderful, kind, generous gentleman and I am excited that he has met you and was able to request your "Trail Angel Services."

Teddy sounds great, and is very excited to finally get started.  As always, I will keep you all posted as his trip progresses.  Thank you all for your support and love!! XOXO

The Thruhiker's Wife

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And Off He Goes...

Scarecrow's departure was a success this morning.  A good night's sleep, a nice pancake breakfast with the kids, last minute packing, checking weather and trail conditions, some quick pictures taken, and we were on our way to the train station.

With several minutes to spare, which is unlike the Warrens, we said our goodbyes and Ted hopped aboard the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica, where he will take the air train to JFK.  His flight will depart at 1:00 pm today, and he will arrive in Seattle around 6:00 pm.  Dan Jump, one of the Jump Trail Angels, will be picking him up and bring him back to the Jump house for the night.  Teddy will be on a greyhound tomorrow morning, heading down to Oregon to begin the 172 miles he has to complete there.  I will post when I know exactly where he is starting, and in which direction he will travel.  His first choice will be to walk northbound from Crater Lake to Sisters, Oregon.  In the last update of conditions, all looks great for travel.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Waldbaum's in Center Moriches, NY.  While Teddy was hiking last summer, some of the ladies took an interest in what he was doing, and continually asked about him and offered support and well wishes.  When they found out he was returning, two of the women, Rose Hudak and Mary Firemark, put together a "care package" of treats for Teddy to take on the trail.  It was a very thoughtful, kind gesture, and we appreciate your generosity.  So here is a huge THANK YOU sent out to our trail angels from Waldbaums!!

I want to close this blog entry thanking everyone for their well wishes, goodie bags, cards, prayers and support.  Teddy and I had a wonderful discussion about all of you ~ we are very lucky to have the network of family and friends around us, cheering him on as he completes his PCT dream.

Until Next Time,
The Thruhiker's Wife

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

3rd Time is a Charm...

A week from today, Teddy will step back onto the trail and complete the last leg of his PCT journey.  It has been a very emotional, frustrating time for him to say the least.  I would like to clear this up for those of you who are not sure what and why this is happening.

When Teddy stepped off the trail last November, he left the mountains of Oregon and Washington with 2+ feet of snow, making the last 350 miles of his journey impossible.  We had always planned for him to go back this summer and complete the pieces he had not hiked.  There are 172 miles in Oregon, spanning from just past Crater Lake to a town called Sisters, and 180 miles in Washington spanning from Skykomish to the monument in Manning Park, just over the Canadian border.  In total, Teddy had missed 352 miles.

We planned a wonderful trip out West, for early July, where we would visit with family, and at the end of our visit, would deliver him to the spot where he had stepped off last November.  All was in place, and on Tuesday, July 10th we drove up to Skykomish with the Jump family to send Teddy on his way.  If there were ever someone watching over Scarecrow on his journey,  (and we feel there is every minute) , they were certainly present that day.  We arrived at the Skykomish Post Office to retrieve his food package that he had sent ahead of time, and met with the woman who worked the counter.  She remembered Teddy when he had stepped off the trail back in November.  She informed us that a thruhiker had just come down that morning from the mountains where Teddy was headed, completely panicked and defeated as there were 6+ feet of snow up on the trail, making it impassable.  Teddy knew exactly how he had felt, as he had bailed when there was 2 feet of snow last fall.  Of course a million things were running through Scarecrow's head ~ was the hiker experienced or a novice? Was it as bad as he said it was?  Does he chance it and go up anyway or heed to the warning given by the postal woman.  After having a wonderful lunch with the Jumps at the Skykomish Diner, thinking about and discussing his options, Teddy thankfully decided to accept this divine intervention as a blessing.  You see, we would never have had access to the trail conditions up on the mountain where we were dropping Teddy off.  If that thruhiker had not come through that morning with the report, we would have dropped Teddy off on a trail that would lead him up to where he had to step back onto the PCT.  He would have been stuck in 6+ feet of snow, while we drove the hour ride back to Redmond. 

We all got back in the car and drove back to my family's home in Redmond, where Teddy decided to contact his trail angel in Oregon.  He would plan to travel down and complete the section from Crater Lake to Sisters, and then make his way back up to Skykomish in a few weeks.  We thought, not only would there be less snow south of here in Oregon, but in a few weeks, the snow will have melted in Washington as well, making for easier travel for his completion.  He called Lloyd Gust, who immediately remembered Scarecrow from their meeting last fall.  They discussed what Teddy had wanted to do, which was take a greyhound from Washington to Portland, and then Portland to Bend, have him pick Teddy up and bring him to the trail and send him on his way.  To Teddy's frustration, the gentleman explained that although he would be more than happy to accommodate his request, he had just that morning rescued two thruhikers from that portion of the trail.  These hikers were experienced, had GPS and the proper equipment and still got stuck, as there were 6+ feet of snow up on the trail.  We could not even believe what we were hearing.  Twice in one day, there was divine intervention sending us a message that Scarecrow did not belong up in the trail at this time.  Again, we would have never had access to the conditions of the trail if it were not for the hikers being rescued THAT DAY!

Teddy made the tough, heartbreaking but safe, smart decision to not attempt to finish at that time.  I reassured him that he would get it done ~ it just wasn't the right time.  I am so grateful and appreciative that he listened to the warnings and chose to fly home instead of risk his safety.

Which brings us to today ~ a week before his departure.  He will fly out on August 21 to our family in Washington, and be driven to the trail head the next day to begin.  His backpack and hiking stick are ready to go, already in Washington, and he is excited to finally put this last piece of the trail to rest.  He estimates it will take him about 26 days, with a few rest days in between.  He will be in the mountains at the optimal time, where there is always the least amount of snow.  My prayers and positive energy are for a healthy, safe, enjoyable journey through the last chapter of Scarecrow's PCT adventure.  

I will update everyone as I hear from Teddy ~ I want to begin this last chapter with a huge thank you to all who have supported Teddy through this journey.  Your love, prayers, and encouragement are what is giving him the strength and positivity to get this done.  

Happy Trails, Scarecrow... enjoy the last leg of this wonderful, exciting journey.

The Thruhiker's Wife

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ailments Alter their Arrangements :(

It is 9:00 pm on Sunday ~ this officially marks the end of Scarecrow and Dakota's hiking trip.  Yes, you are reading this correctly.  Let me catch you up on the happenings of the last 24 hours. Actually, let's start further back, so you can see some of their adventure as it happened.

Back on day 1, they walked along a wooden foot bridge through a meadow of cows.  Of course, the cows could not care less that there were people around.  This picture was taken right after lunch, with still about 6 more miles to walk before setting up camp.

 The cows were contained by barbed wire, so in order to get out of the meadow, a little bridge was constructed to get hikers out.  They would climb up these stairs and over a set of railroad tracks to continue on with the trail.

So away they went, onward to the second half of their hiking day.  Way to go guys. Scarecrow had to teach Dakota what a "cow patty" was here during their stroll through the meadow.  Dakota saw one and thought it was gross, of course.  An important, but gross lesson, I guess, as you have to be aware of your water supply being contaminated by these said cow patties.  I am sure they were both happy to move along.

A new addition to the trail since Teddy's thruhike was this wooden path footbridge that allowed you to hike through marshland without sinking in.

11 years ago, there were just random planks like seen in the cow meadow - I am sure they were thankful for the hard work of the volunteers who created this.

Not much explanation is needed for the next picture ~ a father and daughter about to rap up their first successful day of hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

9 miles in and still smiling... LIFE IS GOOD
Around 6:00 pm, Scarecrow and Dakota arrived at the shelter where they would set up camp for the night.  They had hiked 12 miles on day 1. Very impressive. They met up with other hikers there, and Dakota tried beef jerky for the first and last time (she said it tasted like wet cardboard that was dried, salted, and rolled in dirt).  They slept in the shelter, and like I mentioned previously, they froze through the night.  I am sure they could not wait to get up and start the next day.

Here is another picture of Dakota catching a nap, day 2, during their lunch break at Jim Murray's Secret Shelter.  I think this is when her cold started to take its toll.  She developed a head cold, and a stuffy nose.  She HAD to be exhausted to have been able to find comfort on a wooden step with no blanket and her pack as a pillow.
Off we go after a restful lunch...
After lunch, Scarecrow and Dakota continued on, hoping to get another 12 miles in and actually hiked 14.1 miles.  They were picked up by our Trail Angels and brought back to the house for resupply, rest, and relaxation.  Teddy and Dakota had a wonderful time visiting with Ronnie, Liz, Brittany and Zachary.  After a restless night sleep, battling a stuffy nose, cough and cold, they woke up this morning to an Easter Egg hunt  and a yummy egg and hash brown breakfast, and were back on the trail in High Point by 9:00 am.  Dakota had been battling a head cold for a few days, and today it decided to rear its ugly head and knock her down.  She developed such a painful ear ache and sinus infection that she could not even continue walking.  I received a call at 11:00 am that they had made the decision to step off the trail and end their trip.  Fortunately they did not hike too far into the trail (2 miles) so they turned around and walked back to the recreation center in High Point and were going to wait there for me to come and collect them.  Extremely disappointed does not even cover their feelings of not being able to continue.  Teddy and I talked it over and decided she was in need of antibiotics and rest more than being able to continue her trek.

Once they settled at the rec center, Dakota was able to get some rest, while waiting for me to arrive.  So, in record time, 2 hours and 45 minutes, I made it from home to High Point, New Jersey and gathered my family.  The picture to the right is how I found her when I drove up.  Poor Bubba.  We packed up their stuff into the back of the jeep, posed for their last picture of this adventure, and were back on the road on our way home by 3:30 pm.  We drove straight to Brookhaven Hospital, here on the island, Dakota received treatment, and is now home resting on the couch.

 This trip did not include their anticipated finish line, but did include some awesome pictures and wonderful memories.  This story is not over, it is "to be continued..."
Until Next time,
~The Thruhiker's Wife

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day Two Check In ~ Trail Angel Alert!!

As I was settling in for bed last night, looking at the fullest, brightest moon, I said a prayer for my hikers ~ I prayed they were having a wonderful time, that they would stay warm through the night, that no furry visitors would visit their tents and freak Dakota out, and that she would really embrace this experience with  Teddy by her side.  So, I actually didn't hear from my adventuring family until almost 9:00 pm this evening.  So much for staying in touch.  I am happy to report that MOST of my prayers were answered.  All but the one about them staying warm through the night.  Dakota said she froze during the night, so Teddy gave her his good subzero sleeping bag and took the liners from both bags, plus every single piece of clothing he had with him and tried to stay warm.  He ended up not sleeping a wink through the night because of how cold he was, but thankfully Dakota warmed up, as he heard her finally doze off and begin snoring :)  Their goal for the day was to hike 12 miles, and they did just that.  We are so proud of both of you.

lunch time / nap time
As you can see, Dakota needed to catch up on some much needed rest by lunch time ~ when they arrived at Jim Murray's Secret Shelter, Dakota caught a nap before and after lunch.

They set out to complete at least another 12 miles today, and actually went beyond that and logged 14.1 for today ~ unbelievable.  Their destination was High Point, New Jersey ~ an exciting piece of trail for them, as this was where we all took a day hike a few weeks back with the whole family.

High Point, NJ
They arrived there around 7:00 pm and were picked up by Teddy's brother and sister-in-law, our latest trail angels, who gave them a lift to the store to resupply their food, brought them back to the house, fed them a delicious steak and potato dinner, they got to take hot showers and get a good night's rest.  When speaking to Ronnie, I was expressing my gratitude and thanks for all that his family was doing for Teddy and Dakota, and he said "It's what we do for our family."  Family is wonderful, but "Family Trail Angels" are extraordinarily wonderful.  The actions and deeds you provided that you thought were no big deal mean so much to us, especially the cold, hungry tired hikers.  We appreciate every single thing that you did.  THANK YOU.

Dakota with her Trail Angels Aunt Liz & Uncle Ronnie
So, two successful days down, 27.1 miles under their belts, and still in great spirits.  Only one more thing would have made this a perfect update ~ if Dakota had decided on a trail name.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

Sweet, restful dreams Scarecrow and Dakota.

Happy Trails to both of you...
Love Always,

The Thruhiker's Wife

Friday, April 6, 2012

First Check In!!

WOW! After a smooth start to a freezing morning, I received a text at 7:54 am with this picture attached.  It read: Wawayanda Shelter ~ stopped in for R and R  She is still smiling... that is a good sign LOL

Teddy knew they would come up to this shelter quickly, but wanted Dakota to see it because if they are lucky, there will be another like it further up the trail that they can sleep in for the night instead of on the ground.
Keep going, Babe ~ we are proud of you and Daddy.  Miss you already.

The Thruhiker's Wife

Morning Madness...

Alarm clocks went off way to early this morning as far as I am concerned.  However, today is the big day ~ Teddy and Dakota are off on their hiking adventure! Bags are packed, last minute preparations at 4:30 a.m. and everyone ready to go.  We took some last minute pictures of our hikers all geared up.  Each backpack holding their own sleeping bag, therma-rest, tent, spare set of clothes, food, and supplies looked like so much for Dakota to carry, but she said it wasn't bad at all.  I hope she feels the same way after a 12+ mile day.

all laced up and ready to go...
I had to capture Dakota's brand spanking new hiking boots, next to Teddy's, that have been walked in for hundreds of miles... She has tried breaking them in over the past few weeks in hopes of smooth walking and not a blistering mess.  My fingers are crossed and my positive energy being sent her way.

  I am so proud of my daughter for taking on such an amazing challenge ~ she sure is a trooper for spending her spring break without the many comforts of home that most people take for granted.  Like a bed, a toilet, a warm shelter, a hot meal, TV, electronics... oh, wait... she did bring her iPod.  I tried to convince her to leave it home and just take in the scenery, but she swore it was just to help her fall asleep at night.  As if pure exhaustion was not enough.

 So, as you can see, there looks like alot in that backpack.  I believe their plan is to have only two days of food to carry, and then will meet up with Teddy's brother Ronnie for a resupply and a shower :)  This will definitely help with keeping the pack weight down so Dakota is not completely overwhelmed to start.
 Last minute pictures by me... and yes, I got teary eyed (as usual).  When did my daughter become this young woman who was about to go out adventuring in the woods? I cannot even verbalize just how proud I am of Dakota's determination, strength and excitement.  Of her relationship with her father, of her independence, and of her love of adventure.

 Everyone, including my brother Kenn, piled into the jeep and we departed around 5:30 for the 2 1/2 hour drive to the drop off spot.  We drove up to Northern New Jersey and found a place along Warwick Turnpike where the Appalachian Trail crosses right over the road.  There was no big sign or fanfare, just a white blaze on the tree, signifying where the trail continues.  We unloaded everyone out of the car, packs and all and gathered for last minute pictures.  IT WAS FREEZING (as you can see).

 My prayers for blister free boot walking was now accompanied by prayers for warmer weather for both day and night time ~ Teddy did say it was calling for cool weather at night.  Hang in there Bubba!!

We were all shivering as we posed for pictures and said our goodbyes.  Teddy and Dakota were anxious to get started, and I think the rest of us were anxious to get back into the warm car.

From this point on the trail, they will walk about 12+ miles a day until they reach the Delaware Water Gap.  We figured this to be about 70 miles total.  By the end of this trip, Dakota (and Scarecrow) will have a better idea if the 350 mile trip is feasible for Dakota this summer.

Until then, we will be routing for you both... we will be awaiting pictures and phone calls, and most anxiously waiting to hear what your trail name is Dakota.

 Be safe, be happy, be partners in this adventure, and be grateful... ENJOY

Happy Trails to you both...

The Thruhiker's Wife

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grand Reopening!

Well, it has been 5 months since Scarecrow has stepped off the PCT and made his way back to family life... oddly enough, it is the same amount of time he was away hiking last year.  Since his arrival home, he resumed work, spends a lot more time with family and friends, and has kept his wish of leading a "simpler life."  With that said, the thoughts of the unfinished 350 miles of the PCT visit him often, and he has made preparations to go and complete these haunting miles this coming summer.  An added plus to this upcoming event was the idea of Dakota possibly joining him in this memorable trek.  We tossed around the idea for awhile.  The pros and cons of having a 14 year old teenage girl accompany him while he completes his PCT dream.  The pros outweighed the cons and she was overly excited at the idea of taking on such an extraordinary challenge.  And the planning began.

image via google images

We knew from the beginning that Dakota's heart would most certainly be into it.  We were not as sure about the physicality of it, or if she was just in love with the "idea" of hiking with her Dad.  So, to test her true intentions, Teddy and Dakota will leave tomorrow morning and hike approximately 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail.  Yes, you read me correctly ~ Scarecrow and Dakota will be driven by me, the Thruhiker's Wife, to Warwick, New Jersey tomorrow morning at 4 a.m.  They will be dropped off on the side of the road and sent on their way for a hiking adventure most teenagers will never experience.  They will walk for about 12 miles a day, take snack breaks, have to cook their food over a stove the size of a soda can, dig a hole to use the bathroom, sleep on the floor of a tent, and hope the weather is in their favor.  They will also walk through beautiful landscape, cross footbridges and streams, encounter wildlife, hear nature, bond not only as father and daughter, but as fellow hikers, and will have section hiked the New Jersey portion of the Appalachian Trail all the way to the Delaware Water Gap.
I consider my self pretty lucky to be able to watch such a beautiful story such as this unfold.  Scarecrow thruhiked the Appalachian Trail 11 years ago, and that experience changed his life.  To now be able to introduce that beauty and experience to our daughter, who is also adventurous, strong, driven and determined, will just be amazing.  And this is only the beginning.  This 5+ day trip will determine if Dakota will want to, and be able to handle, the bigger venture later this year on the PCT.  
All I can report right now are two things:  they are all packed and excited to go, and 4:00 a.m. will be here too soon for me...  Stay tuned for the updates on this latest excursion by Scarecrow and his new hiking partner, whose trail name is yet to be determined.

~The Thruhiker's Wife