For real

I’ve been thinking about the first time the Appalachian Trail entered my world. Damien was following a thru-hiker (maybe reading his online trail journal?) who was hiking to raise awareness and money for a non-profit mission. Damien suggested we host this guy, a stranger, in our home while we was hiking through Maine.

I readily agreed. We love meeting new and interesting people. And in that way I was first introduced, in real-life, to thru-hikers and long distance hiking.

Winter river

Fast forward six years to a cold March. I can’t believe I’m about to embark on my own long distance trek avec ma famille. The same questions I asked the 3 thru-hikers who ended up staying in our home, that warm August night, I am now asked by people.

What will you eat? Where do you sleep? How do you deal with your period? (Ok, so not many people come out and ask me that one, but you better believe I asked the woman who stayed with us that night. By the way, the answer ain’t all that pretty.)

I did an interview this week and one of the things I rambled on about (I’m a rambling talker) was how small changes and small decisions lead to big ones.

When I stop to think about it, and I don’t have much time for thinking these days, I can’t believe I’m here.

Days away from the trail. The dreams set in motion many years ago actually being lived, now. And the amount of work to make those ideas reality. Unreal.

My life is real. The days are real. Real busy. But in just a couple weeks my job each day will be to walk. That is still unreal, but will be real enough very soon.

« Interest-led learning (& living) career planning
A quick trip to the city »
  • Dianna

    Dianna on March 7, 2014, 3:32 a.m.

    Renee, I continue to be inspired by you and your family!  I hiked a section of the AT many years ago, so I have a bit of an idea, but nothing like what your family is doing.  Perhaps now I am vicariously planning this new hike.  I will be with you in spirit and hold all of you close in my heart as you begin this grand adventure.  May peace and love be with you, Dianna


  • Wendy

    Wendy on March 15, 2014, 12:07 p.m.

    Oh I am so excited for you and your family!  My husband and I met thru hiking and my kids are counting the years (they're still littles) until our IAT adventure.  Enjoy every moment-though be warned that thru hiking (no matter how outdoorsy you already are) gets into your blood:)


    • renee

      renee on March 15, 2014, 12:46 p.m.

      Which part of the IAT are you planning to hike? As far as long distance hiking getting in our blood- we're counting on it :)


  • Wendy

    Wendy on March 19, 2014, 12:35 p.m.

    The whole thing-Katahdin to Gaspe:).  Ours are only 5 and 7, and though they have hiking legs and blood, 7 miles a day is their limit now.  My husband deals with the "real world" much better than I do, as without him I think I'd be one of those endless thru hikers who doesn't know how to function off trail.   

    My husband and I hiked different years and met when he was thru hiking.  I was house,husband and daughter sitting for a mother who was hiking with her teenage sons.  It was very challenging for the husband at times and hard on their family dynamic.  It's such an amazing journey to take as a family. 

    Enjoy-and truly breathe through every moment.  We're about 1.5 hours from the trail in maine.  If you need anything, please hang on to my email address:)


    • renee

      renee on March 19, 2014, 12:43 p.m.

      Wendy, when you embark on that adventure please, please let us know. Since the chic-chocs are in our "backyard" We'd love to host/help/hike you along your way.

      The trail organization that manages the IAT in Quebec charges a lot for camping along the trail. So we haven't done it much. The whole hiking culture is much different here than in Maine and along the AT. It's taking us some time to adjust. 

      I loved how you said "house, husband and daughter sitting" (smile). One of the reasons we're going through all the effort of getting all of us to the trail is that we simply can't imagine having such a life changing experience without each other to share it with. I don't like spending the day away from Damien, never mind 6 months! We couldn't do this any other way. It was either all of us or none of us, until the kids were grown, and we didn't want to wait that long, nevermind we want them to have this experience also!

      Anyway, if you are ever through the gaspe - hiking or vacationing -email me!


You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.