Three times now I have gone into the woods for a hike.  Each time I left behind my family in the process.  One member in particular always worries the most, my mom.  So on this, Mother’s Day I thought I would let her know I have worn her shoes for once.

Recently my good friend Jill Hueckman embarked on her quest to become the first woman to complete the Triple Crown.  Not the hiking Triple Crown like I’m attempting but the Bikepacking Triple Crown.  The Bikepacking Triple Crown consists of the Arizona Trail, 750 miles, Tour Divide, 2750 miles, and the Colorado Trail, 500 miles.


Jill on the AZT

Jill left to start the Arizona Trail back on April 11th.  It was then that I put my mother’s shoes on, figuratively speaking.  The thought of Jill out there by herself was frightening.  I worried about her, her safety, her health and whether she was lost or not.  Even knowing she had done this particular race before I couldn’t help it.  Then it hit me, I was feeling exactly what my own mother must have felt whenever I walked off into the woods.  Having helped with Jill’s preparation I became part of the adventure, just like my mom probably did with mine.  You become invested.  You want to do everything you can to help that person succeed.

The waiting between phone calls or texts always felt longer than it really was.  Each time my phone buzzed I hoped it was her calling.  Just one call so I knew she was okay.  So many times during both of Jill’s Arizona Trail races I have gotten calls or texts at odd hours in the day or night.  She might be lost in the dark of a moonless desert or wanted to know where to find the next road or just someone to talk to.  Some of the same things I call my mother for when hiking.

As I was there for Jill when she was feeling the worst she has ever felt on her bike or was lost, my mother was there when I was down from terrible weather or lack of good food choices or any other adversity I might have run into.  Having someone there is an amazing feeling.  Knowing you can call at any time with any request and they’ll be there to help any way they can is amazing.


My mom, visiting me on the PCT in 2007

So the next time I go hiking I’ll be sure keep in closer contact with those I love, especially my mother.  She’s one of the best.  Knowing what it’s like to be the one at home worrying or jumping through hopes to fulfill whatever odd requests, has given me a greater appreciation for my mother and what she has done for me over the years.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I love you!


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