It continually befuddles Paul and I as to the melodramatic exclamation we get when people hear we hiked the PCT. Not because we did it in its entirety over 2700 miles (one must NOT forget the “bonus miles”), but that we did it TOGETHER, and more importantly are STILL married. The response from seemingly happily married couples is generally, “Oh My GOD, we (I) could never do that…we’d kill each other!, one or both exclaim and in ironic unison nodding approvingly at one another…in an oh so loving way. They get the fact that we both embarked on this momentous journey together. They ask if we hiked with or in a group. Not necessarily, we reply. We did leapfrog with a few groups of hikers and would meet people along the way, but we mostly hiked alone, as in Just Paul and I. Their eyes widen and pupils begin to dilate. ‘You mean to tell me it was just you two…alone?’ Well ya. We went a lot of days hiking with never seeing, let alone talking to, another soul on the trail. ‘Wow, that must have been hard. I couldn’t imagine ever doing something like that’ we are told. Anybody can do it, if you take the time and have the drive, is our general reply. ‘No, I could do the hiking part, just not spend all that time alone with my (wife/husband)’. You take vacations together don’t you, we ask? ‘Ya, but it’s generally not more than a week or two and we’re not together really 24/7, there are places to “escape” to…if ya know what I mean. ‘What do you talk about?’ Hmm, what did we talk about? Everything under the sun, no matter how innoquous. We debate issues, and ponder the origins of things. Our favorite conversation was the origin of profanity and what a “catch phrase” taken literally would look like, which often left us stopped in our tracks laughing hysterically. If you came upon us during one of those conversations one would think we had “lost our marbles” (one of the many phrases we discussed). We of course had plenty of time to solve the world’s problems, and finally came to the conclusion that people just need to stop watching TV and go outside and play. We all need to skip more for no apparent reason. Have you ever watched a trail of kids walking and notice that without provication one will twirl, hop or begin skipping? When did we stop doing that? Okay, I digress, back to the marriage thing…Before we left on this journey, people would say, ‘You’ll either come back stronger or divorced’. Luckily, stronger was the end result, but then divorced partr was/is never really an option. Our theory is that unless it’s one of the three “A’s” (Adultery, Addiction, or Abuse)…you gotta just work it out. This is not to say that our marriage has not been without tests, and 171 days of trail life were no exception. There were moments and maybe even days when we definitely did not like each other, but our love and commitment to each other and our shared goals never wavered and enabled us to overcome occasional bouts of, stupid emotional shit that does not get one anywhere…literally and figuratively. Most tiffs or upsets on the trail were brought on by FEAR (Fantastical Events Appearing Real) and/or supreme fatigue. For me, my fear of heights and Pauls lack thereof made for some interesting days. Paul’s idea was for me to just “get over it”. Not that simple. We grew to understand and help each other work through these “events/issues”, resulting in a more finely tuned partnership. Since returning home from the PCT, we still walk everyday, and the conversations continue. We are truly eachother’s best friend, which is probably the secret to a lasting relationship…and trail partner. We will test our friendship this fall when we tackle the Camino de Santiago Compestella, an entirely different trail from the PCT, in every sense of the way.
If you are interested in following this journey, stay tuned, as I will continue it via http://www.2moremiles.com. Look for me to begin posting our preparation for, and about, this adventure say mid June or early July. Click on “follow”, and updates will miraculously appear via the email address you enter. In the meantime, take the time to play outside, skip, twirl and be obnoxiuosly happy. Life is too short to do otherwise.