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For some, the time between conceiving the idea to hike the AT and actually beginning to do so is a matter of months or even weeks. For me, it was at least a 20-year process!! (see 1: An Idea) I mostly kept quiet about the idea at this point; my husband heard me voice and act on many other crazy plans during this time that it was best not to overwhelm him! I did, however, mention it occasionally and he has admitted that he didn’t think I was serious. After all, we were not backpackers and while we enjoyed hiking with the kids, they didn’t always share our enthusiasm. We jokingly took to calling our hikes “forced marches” (one daughter later confided that she was in college before she realized we weren’t saying “forest marches” which I think is actually a preferable name!). We had a tent and occasionally car camped, but that was about the extent of it, so there was no evidence to think that becoming a backpacker was truly on my “to do” list.