Some final thoughts on Part 1

Total Days: 128 (August 3 ā€“ December 8, 2014)
Total Miles: 17,383
National Parks: 24
States Driven Through: 32
Friends and Family Visited: 46

When we started this trip I was excited, and rightful so. I pictured myself becoming one with nature. Waking up each morning with the sun, well rested, and doing yoga or jogging (both of which I hate) at the camp site before starting that day’s hike. Enjoying beautiful views all day and ending the nights around a campfire making s’mores.

YEAH RIGHT; time to get real about our trip. The views were beautiful, but I didn’t make a single s’more all trip. (Although thanks to Ginger, I did get to eat a few). This trip was exhausting, limit pushing, and, at times, dangerous. As I write this now, with the United States portion (Part 1) of the trip officially over, I have two purple toe nails about to fall off, cuts on my elbows, and countless bruises; this condition is about par for the course. That doesn’t even account of all of the bug bites, stings, blisters, scratches, and sore muscles which have occurred and healed over the 4 months while we were on the road. Oh yeah, and I gained ten pounds too. Not from hiking strengthening me, but eating greasy small town diner food and beer after a long day hiking in the cold rain.

So it wasn’t an easy trip. But it was amazing and worth every second. The best part about being pushed to your limits is that they aren’t where you thought they would be. More than once I was sore and exhausted and collapsed in the tent/parking lot/motel after finishing a hike, but I finished them all.

Laying in the parking lot after our second back-country hike

For me the most frustrating and demoralizing part of the trip is when, on a long hike, EVERYONE ELSE on the trail seems to pass me. Toddlers, parents carrying children, seniors with trekking poles, and people that look out of shape at all barrel past me on steep climbs up hill. How is it possible that I am the slowest, most out of breath person on the entire mountain?

But now, I am sure that I did end the trip a lot strong than when I started. Stronger both physically and mentally, and the past few trips to the gym proved this when I easily surpass my old abilities on the treadmill.

Over the next few weeks Jon and I will be posting some of our favorites of the trip; Top 5 National Parks, Top 5 Hikes, Favorite Cities, and More. We will also post some articles about the travel resources we found the most useful and ways we saved money on the road. In January, we will start Part 2 of our year off when we fly to Thailand.

THANK YOU to all of our friends and family who opened their doors to us while we were on the road. Spending time with you was truly the best part of our trip.

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