30 Days and Counting

One month from today, my son leaves to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
Those are words I never thought I’d say. I don’t even like journeying too far into the backyard. Yet somehow I raised a son who thinks its very reasonable to pile everything he might need for five months into a canvas sack on his back and fly to California, where someone will collect him and deliver him to a designated starting point just north of the Mexican border, and begin walking. To Canada.
Michael is 20. He will turn 21 on the trail, it’s true. Still, when he first proposed this idea with a degree of seriousness to me in January, I answered as follows:
  1. No
  2. Are there bears?
  3. No
  4. Oh my god, seriously?
  5. Is there something I can read in order to understand this?
  6. Maybe this isn’t so crazy
  7. There really is a lot of very cool gear for people who hike
  8. I have faith in you. Promise me you will call home.

Unlike my son, I tend to be a bookish person. When ​I’m ​at a loss, I turn to written word. So my first instinct, in ​an effort to regain some equilibrium as I watched ​UPS ​and FedEx ​​trucks arrive every day with frighteningly-large boxes containing things like ice picks and dried refried beans, was to find something ​written by another terrified parent ​who loves a child who thru-hike​s​ (that’s a term, you know.)

​There was nothing. NOTHING? Seriously? No one had any advice on how to keep from panicking about this?

And that’s when it hit me. It’s going to take all the presence of mind I can muster to stay the course for 150 or more days, and 150 or more nights. So I’m going to start writing. Writing about how this feels. About what Michael is doing. About how we got to this point and how we’re going to spend the next 30 days getting ready. And then writing about where he is, what he’s doing and how a mom who is basically afraid of all animals, insects, rodents and flying things is keeping her sanity and cheering for her son while he discovers what he’s made of.

Here’s a picture of Michael on the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut in October:



But here’s what he looks like to me:



Here we are together, the day he graduated from high school in 2015. Little did I know what was in store:



Thanks for coming on the journey with us. I’ll try to share news about Mike, where he is and post the pictures and videos he sends, and I’ll try to give you some good things to read about the Pacific Crest Trail as well as other long distance hikes and whatever else I learn along the way. This part is my journey. Its a journey I didn’t expect to take but I’m Terrified-Proud. After all, not everyone can say their son walks on mountains.
  1. MaxineFrampton

    March 31, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I wanted to share with you all the comments I received on my Facebook page yesterday when the comments section of this page weren’t working. Thank you all for being so supportive!

    Barbara Spencer: Michael is having an adventure. I love your solution on how to handle it. Love you!!!

    Janet Sharma I’m assuming you’ve real “Wild”?
    Reply · Maxine Frampton Spencer: Kind of afraid to???? Saw the movie and thought maybe I shouldn’t!

    Norajill Winstead Love what you have already. Hang tough

    Jo Ann Clipp Omg – I love the picture of him as a kid. As a mom of a 20 year old that’s how I see my son. Is he going with someone else
    Reply · Maxine Frampton Spencer: He is not. He is going alone. With an host of people like him who flock to this thing each year, apparently.

    Elizabeth Mac Donald: I will look forward to following your blog.

    Mary O’Mara Johnson: Prayers for both you and your son, Maxine.❤

    Karen Timmons: This is wonderful! Love it! There are lots of ISBers in CA who could and would host!

    Peggy Metcalf: This is awesome! I so admire your response. I will be following closely as I’ve had many similar feelings lately as Daniel headed off for Italy with the Army. Excited for him to be doing what he wants, nervous as hell out of motherly concern.
    Reply Maxine Frampton Spencer: Always thought of you as a soul sister, Peggy. Lean in with me. Daniel will be in my prayers. You too.

    Debbie Kelly: I will be following. Does he need a companion? This sounds like it would be exactly up John’s alley.
    Reply · Maxine Frampton Spencer: Oh how grand that would be! We were talking about John Kelly just last night!!!

    Lisa Michelle Schoelles: Dear heart. For a Pacific trail book, wild is a good book. Bill Bryson’s “a walk in the woods” is also a funny guy hiking book (Appalachian trail, tho). This blog is a great idea.

    Sharon Scullion Hoitsma: Beautifully written Maxine, as a mother I share your pride and excitment and fear..as your friend I will follow your journey and your sons with great anticipation of what I will learn from Both of you!! Prayers and Hugs!!

    Rosa Careccia: Only a mom as awesome as you are would not only encourage this wonderful adventure, but also share it with him and with us in such a terrific way. I look forward to your exciting journey (and will send an extra prayer or two your way!) xoxo

    Libby Pense Palmer: Max, this is awesome on so many levels, and what a perfect option to channel your motherly energy! Much better to be “on the bus” rather than “under the bus!” Count me as a follower!❤️⚓️

    M Donald Frampton: I idly poked a little fun at your worrying but I know no two humans think exactly alike or have precisely the same values. The best way you can show you have every confidence in him is to show it. I’m sure my mother worried somewhat when I went off off to be an 18 year old soldier. She worried more when I came home with a London girl who painted her toe nails….. Michael is no slouch, he is well aware of the world around him. He’s a slow thinker, weighs his words and his actions, he is not the sort of person that crosses the road without looking for traffic. There is a book I read , a girl did this walk ..on her own. It was all mapped out civilisation about every three days ..a place to stock up and rest Michael is not on his own… he knows his capabilities in terms of distances per day.. he has done quite long distant hikes. There is no dishonour on saying “enough for me” . A big hat, sun blocker, lip cream, something for blisters, a couple of tubes of polo mints to stimulate saliva and a box of plasters. A self closing or zipper bag to keep a t shirt and pants dry, a small ball of string to tie wet cloths to the back pack to dry, two pairs of socks – one a thin pair, a walking pole .. its the extra leg you might need. Stamps for postcard home. Small note book to tell us all about it and….. if you can find one in Walmart … a positive mental attitude .. Sing a song every day. Tell him A’hm watchin.and a bit envious… .
    Reply · Rachel Frampton Hoffmann: What else is there to say really? ❤️
    Reply · Judith Beabes Frampton: Well said! You got this Michael!

    Deb Rammel McKeel: Maxine, I love this and will enjoy following along. As I read your first entry it made me think of the parenting journey we all take as our children create their own paths. Lots of excitement, fear at times and wearing our hearts on our sleeves. Totally get all of your emotions and love that you will share your journey as your son walks his. Much love ❤️

    Kathleen McGrath: I love that you’re sharing Michel’s adventure. Thank you Maxine! What a wonderful adventure we shall all have.

    Shelley Boyer Dailey: OMG!, and I was thinking how worried I am for my 25 yr. old son to go to England on his own for a week! May the Lord bless you and keep you both safe in his care.

    Megan Curran: I look forward to reading this Max. What a truly great idea!!!

    M’Liz Scotton Riechers: Beautifully expressed, Max. Michael is lucky to have such a supportive, loving mom. Looking forward to the updates!

    Janelle Neithammer Downey: Wow…that’s quite the journey. Best of luck to Michael, and to you. I am insanely jealous of him, I wish I had had the guts at his age. Please give us updates, will you send an e-newsletter perhaps notifying us of new blog posts (not that I read my email all that often…)?

    Mary Sheehy Connolly: This is great Maxine! Will be following along. Love what you wrote so far!

    Bailey Townley: I understand your apprehension, and I’m excited for him. If he has any questions about how I handled my hike I’d be happy to chat with him.

    Karen Silverman: Maxine this is absolutely wonderful!!! Keep writing, and sharing, love it.

    Ellen Fitzpatrick: Love this, Max. Will be reading along. Read A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson. At least it will make you laugh. Xo

    Elizabeth Bagby Schooler: Sounds wonderful! How many of us ever get this opportunity?!!

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