When we started our honeymoon on the continental divide, and with it this topic on my web log, I never imagined how large an impact the log would have on our experience. Mostly I saw it as a way to record the experience and keep our friends and family up to date. As it turned out, I feel like this web log has been as much a part of our trip as our backpacks. It has provided opportunities that would never have been possible without it, and also presented unexpected problems.
My first surprise was the number of people who read, commented, and contributed to our trip through the hobolog. The amount of energy and attention youï¿½ve given us was far beyond my expectations.
Early in the trip I learned that Annï¿½s parents, Bob and Carol, were printing two copies of each post and photograph. One copy they mailed to Annï¿½s grandmother Hazel, who put kept them in a binder and shared them with her friends. The other copy went to work with Bob, who shared them with his coworkers. This alone increased our circulation to include people Iï¿½ve never met. Then my mom sent a link to the hobolog out to a considerable list of her friends and family. My previous hiking partner Pete shared the site with his coworkers and associates. In Santa Fe Peter, who took us to the Mexico border, responded to posts sometimes minutes after they were made. Michael and Julie, friends of my fatherï¿½s and fellow lovers of the outdoors, cheered us on. Our climbing friends and coworkers in Ridgecrest showed up regularly. And of course Ted, with his distinctive anonymous comments, made sure there was always something new to read when I couldnï¿½t post. Everyone seemed to be wishing us well.
All of this encouragement really helped us overcome the difficulties we faced. Itï¿½s difficult to imagine how much harder our trials would have been if we didnï¿½t know you were all out there supporting us. Distance hiking, especially in water-scarce New Mexico, requires great mental strength, and mental strength is much harder to come by if you feel isolated and alone. The comments, email, and phone calls we received from you during our supply stops bolstered us so we could face the trail again. Ann especially needed it as she endured mile after mile of pain caused by foot problems.
We couldnï¿½t have asked for more, but more came. Surprises started showing up for us in the mail. We got treats from our moms first, then super chocolate cookies from Clare, then giant rice crispy treats from Pete. These people had found the imperfect mailing itinerary I posted, which was good enough in New Mexico for motivated friends to get a package to us. After New Mexico, however, it caused problems.
We never made plans for only one of us to stop hiking. The spirit of the honeymoon, we originally thought, was for us to start and stop together. When Ann decided to stop hiking in the San Juans, though, we didnï¿½t feel like sticking to the plan. Instead, we felt that the spirit of a new marriage called for teamwork, compromise, and flexibility. So I continued hiking, Ann supported me in the car, and our mailing itinerary went to pot. We no longer had to pick up supplies by mail more than every few weeks, and we didnï¿½t even check many of the post offices on our itinerary. We never thought to take the old itinerary off the site.
It wasnï¿½t until recently that I discovered that Tom and Annette in Ridgecrest had gone to great trouble to make and mail us goodies in Colorado and Montana. After three attempts, they gave up in exasperation. Itï¿½s possible that we missed other packages also, and never knew it. My apologies to everyone who went to the trouble to send us stuff, only to have it returned or disappear altogether. Weï¿½re amazed and thankful for your efforts!
Actually, I want to thank all of you. By giving us so much, youï¿½ve made this your trip as well as ours. Itï¿½s been fun for us, and hopefully for you too. Thatï¿½s all for the continental divide, for now, but remember…
Thereï¿½s always someplace to go, and a way to get there!