The journey actually began several months ago when my husband and I were sitting around our apartment bored with two stir-crazy little ones underfoot. We needed to get out of the house but didn’t want to spend a ton of money. It was a nice day so we decided to go for a hike. Living in Northcentral Florida there are tons of trails. We picked one not too far from the house and set off to explore.
Our first adventure took us to the Ross Prairie Trailhead, which is about three miles long. Now, for you and I, three miles is probably easily achievable even if you aren’t in the best shape. However, for a then three-year-old and a 3-month-old puppy…well let’s just say that for the last mile we had to alternate between carrying the dog and carrying Monkey. There was a lot of mumbling, grumbling and moaning. Duke laid down in the middle of the trail and refused to move another inch. Monkey adamantly denied walking another step unless he was holding my hand which was pretty difficult on the narrow trail. I had pretty much decided there would be no more hiking for this family. Actually, I’m pretty sure if you were to ask my husband, I added to the cacophony of distressing sounds and angry faces.
So how did we get here? How did a family with a near-disastrous first hiking experience decide that they were going to hike the 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail? Well, it has always been a dream of mine. Yes, I know I just said this family wasn’t ever hiking again, but I’m a woman and therefore reserve the right to change my mind! It turns out that even though that first hike was a mile too long, Monkey really liked it and wanted to go again. He really enjoyed the second hike. We left earlier in the day so we didn’t feel rushed. We took our time and let him explore a little. He picked up tree nuts, rocks, and leaves. He asked about flowers, plants, and mushrooms. We watched Youtube videos of mushrooms growing for a least a week straight and he never stopped talking about it.
I know I haven’t answered how we got here yet, it was me. I was born and have lived my entire life in one country, one state, one tiny little city…how boring! I have always wanted to travel and have spent many hours planning and contemplating vacations to a variety of destinations. Those dreams have never happened for one reason or another. There wasn’t enough money, time, or something just always got in the way. I mentioned my desire to complete the Appalachian Trail to my husband who was completely on-board. As a family, we decided that we were not going to let anything stop us from taking this once in a lifetime adventure. We know there will be a lot of obstacles to overcome and the journey to get there will not be an easy one. I think we are up for the challenge. – Angela
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu