We haven’t posted anything about the past few days.  On Wednesday, we went back to the trail and had a perfect day!  I mean it was absolutely beautiful!  Thursday we continued to hike, with plans to meet Ryan’s parents on Sunday on the Lonesome Lake/Cascade Trail.  We have hiked this trail many times with them in the past.  It sounded like we had a great plan!  The morning was amazing.  We had hiked 2 miles before 9, another 2 before 10.  We were in stride.  We were dry.  The bugs were not horrible.  Everything was going really well… then it wasn’t.  Something happened and the morale fell.  Unlike the other day, there was no conflict, there were no external factors causing stress, the terrain wasn’t horrible, but morale was falling.  In effort to understand, we had conversations with each of our kids.  We can push ourselves to carry packs and hike further on, but we have a responsibility to listen to our kids.  We did.  Then, we made the decision to declare the hike complete.  At that very moment, it seemed that the decision was the right one.

After several days of conversations that included asking hard questions that required honest answers, taking time to search the depths of our hearts for those answers, and coming together once again to talk, everyone has decided that our time on the trail is not complete.

Our rhythm was interrupted when we had to go to New York.  We thought that coming back to New Hampshire would be good for all of us, giving us the opportunity to be supported by family and friends as we hiked through our ‘back yard’.  What we could not have known was how hard it would be to stay on the trail, when the comforts of home were so close.  On Thursday, when we left the trail, I struggled to find contentment in our decision.  We all struggled, every single one of us, with the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’.  All of us knew that there was no way to go back and reclaim the trial experience that we had before, so we sought to find contentment in the transition from one season to another.  All of this set the stage for where we are now.  We are going back out on the trail.  We had the opportunity to come home, be home, and move forward with our heads held high knowing that we had accomplished so much.  No problems!  Instead of settling for that though, this month of grand interruptions has only led us to have a stronger resolve to finish the journey that we started.  We all have our individual “why’s”.  For Zoey, 8, her “why” is to just be with the family that she has grown to love.  For Ryan and I, our “why” is so much more complex, difficult to express in words right now, but knowing deep down that this is something we are supposed to do.  There is much more work to be done, more memories to be made, more ground to cover both figuratively and linearly.

An article was released by the Concord Monitor this morning, it states,  “And it proved a little too much for the Owen family”.  This is a part of our imperfect attempt to thru-hike the trail.  We quit, we called it, decided we had had enough, then we didn’t.

We are not completely sure of the date, but we will begin a South Bound (SOBO) hike within the next several days.  We have sought advice from veterans of the trail, close friends, and even friends we have met along the trail… we have been assured that this plan makes so much sense.  With that, the journey continues, we believe the very best is yet to come.

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