Pacific Crest Trail: A Mother’s Perspective

Photo by poetic174** Editors Note: We are currently running a series on Suzanne Hessler’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. Her mother reached out to us and asked if we’d share her thoughts. After reading what she had to say, we were quite moved by the emotion behind her words. As enlightening and inspiring as it may be to explore creation, it’s always good to remember the strength of our human connections.

By Eugenie Hessler

Where do I start? My daughter started planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014. She was organized in every detail — quitting her job, giving up her apartment in San Francisco, making sure that she had enough money saved for her journey, organized her “boxes” that were going to have to be sent to her during her trek, making sure her medical insurance would cover her in case of need while on the trail, etc . . . .

She is awesome and makes me proud that I have a daughter that has made a decision and is sticking to it. However, being a parent, sister, brother, extended family, we too are involved. As a mother, you want to support your children in their endeavors; however, I and people in her life have to be considered in this equation.

We are watching by the side lines, worrying about the snow, cold, cliffs, food, bugs, animals, rain, frost bite, getting lost, heat, running out of food, water — basically survival. I am having a hard time right now accepting that my daughter is putting herself in danger every day. Yes, she wants to accomplish this trip, however, as a parent I fear for her life.

I could never tell her how I feel right now because it would not be fair for her to deal with my fears. I want her to be strong and finish what she started. Mother Nature is wonderful to explore, but she can strike with a vengeance with no warning.

My concerns also include human nature. Not everyone can be trusted. She will be meeting many people and I would be naive if I said “all hikers” are good people.

I know I sound very negative, and I don’t want to. I am just trying to get my head wrapped around the positive of my daughter’s trip. She has had two close calls that she shared with me that could have cost her life. The hikers that she ran into on the second problem did not ask if she was ok. They were also in a survival mode and walked right by.

Human nature versus mother nature.

I hope that her memories will be of the beautiful moments she has. I will support her in this trip and will help in any way I can. I think of her every day and wonder when I will hear her voice again.

Thanks for reading this. I hope that maybe other parents, etc. will feel that this is ok to feel like I do, and we can support each other if need be.

I so want my daughter to have success in her voyage. She inspires me to live my life the fullest.

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