When starting any big adventure it is incredibly difficult to avoid having expectations. Unfortunately expectations can lead to let downs when these expectations aren’t met – or conversely- one can expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised.
Andy has been dreaming about hiking this trail for 8 years. Reading blogs and doing research lends itself to having expectations. Luckily, Andy is wonderful about living in the present and enjoying the adventure – no matter what comes his way. Laurie, however, builds things up in her head. She’s aware of this and works hard to stay present.
Although consciously working to stay open to the trail experience and lessons, we started the trail with some expectations.
The following is a collection of those expectations and what really happened – up to mile 702.
The desert is hot
Our experience in the desert was surprisingly wet (rain, hail) which thankfully kept the temperatures cool. We only experienced temps over 90 degrees twice, and none over 100. We know this isn’t the norm, and we appreciated the cooler days.
The desert is boring
Andy, who grew up in LA, appreciated the desert. Laurie, who has never really spent time in desert was skeptical. Both of us were surprised by the amazing amount of blooming cacti and miniature wildflowers.
It was captivating to watch the clouds shade the distant hills. We giggled as lizards did push ups trying to intimidate us or frantically ran away along the trail. The arid landscape has won over both of our hearts.
Andy will do all the blogging
Laurie quickly realized she loves to write about our daily adventures. We take turns writing and often one will start and the other will finish. Or one will write the entirety of a post and the other will edit it.
We will meet people and form a trail family
We have met a lot of people – some we feel immediately drawn to and others that we trade hellos and superficial conversation but keep it at that. It is nice to see familiar faces in town and on the trail.
We feel part of a greater community but as a result of timing, our enjoyment of dry camping and feeling content with the company of one another, we have not formed many deep bonds with other hikers yet.
We will get tired of one another
We have been dating for over 3 years and know one another pretty darn well but thru hiking can be challenging. We have never lived together and now will be sharing a tent.
Will we have enough personal space?
Will we want time apart?
So far the answers have been no.
This time together is a gift. We laugh, joke and comfort one another with more ease. The things that used to bother us now make us laugh. Don’t get us wrong, there are still plenty of frustrating and irritating moments but we get over them quickly by talking about them.
We learn from them and make our relationship stronger. Building a relationship without daily societal distractions is a gift – we learn to accept one another for who we are at our core.
Our blog will be read only by family
We had no idea how this blog would turn out. We wanted to keep friends and family informed but never expected the breadth of exposure. Relatives of friends and complete strangers eagerly await our daily updates.
We love your comments and find a lot of pleasure in sharing our experiences with those we know and love, and those we don’t. Thank you for making this experience even better!
We will get clean and smell good in towns
We expected to smell but neither of us expected that 1 hour after a shower (in which we scrub our armpits with soap multiple times) we would start smelling again. The smell of onions or pastrami continues to plague us – even in town.
Our relationships with friends will suffer
Laurie thought being away for 6 months would create voids in her relationships. While she no longer sees a lot of her friends daily or on a frequent basis – she’s had more contact with some while on the trail then at home!
Without the daily distractions she recognizes what is most important to her – and that is her community. While hiking she spends a lot of time thinking and feeling grateful for the people in her life and sends out love into the atmosphere.
We will get bored eventually
Everyday on the trail is different. The views and weather constantly change, some days our bodies ache and others we feel like we can walk forever. This is part of the excitement and adventure. We never know what is around the next corner.
The first 700 miles had many hidden pleasures, we will soon see what the sierras have in store.