I’ve heard of a few instances where hikers call home or friends and the conversation has been less than encouraging. I think part of the reason that happens is because people imagine that we’re out here having the time of our lives and maybe even need to be brought back down to earth, or think the things we want to talk about are the itinerary of our days. 

That may be true for some hikers, but it seems to me a lot of us are trying to process some of the negative thoughts patterns we have out here (and back home, too) and emotions that come up. I’ve also heard that one of the hardest things about eventually leaving the trail is that people at home don’t understand at all what you’ve been through. I’m hoping this list of ideas will help bridge the gap and help make hikers still feel connected and understood by their support people back home. (Keep in mind this is from the perspective of someone who’s only been out here for 3 weeks.)

How are you feeling today?

What was the last section like?

What was the hardest part about it?

What was your favorite part about it?

How are your feet/back/new shoes/stomach problems/whatever small thing they’ve told you has changed?

How are you feeling about the trip so far?

What are you looking forward to?

What’s it like when you get to town?

Are you being nice to yourself?

Are you hiking with people? What do you think of them?

How much time are you spending alone? Is it too little? Too much?

What have you been thinking about as you hike?

Have you had any really upsetting moments?

Have you had any moments where you were afraid?

How many miles are you doing? Does it feel like the right amount?
Hikers, feel free to add more questions in the comments!