HARPSWELL — Dee and Don Miskill are a lot alike. Both husband and wife are outdoors people; both wanted their Harpswell home instantly when they saw its ocean views; both are former Navy officers. And both enthusiastically got behind Don’s quest to thru-hike the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail at age 66.

But while Don prepared physically, organizationally and technologically to make his hike a success and share it through a blog, Dee, who has acted as his support crew, saw it differently.

“I want him to learn something about himself. He’s a very extroverted person. But if you’re going to hike 2,180 miles, you have to learn something about who you are,” she said.

Starting March 18, Don hiked with gusto until his left hip started hurting, going from numb to painful. After dropping 20 pounds on the first 700 miles, his pack didn’t fit. So he left the trail and came back to Maine in late May.

Don hopes to return to the trail this summer or next year. Dee wants the adventure to resume as well. She wants to see where this mountain quest takes her husband.

So this look at an AT thru-hike effort shines the light on the support team, rather than the hiker; on the food-package delivery person, the central command, the cheering section.

It occurred to me the fact you both served in the Navy probably helped with planning?

I was a commander and he was a captain. I retired first, then he retired. But he never really retired, he went to work at L.L. Bean, and then to run the town’s swim program for 18 years.

We lived in Virginia before we moved to Maine in 1982. He put in for orders to Brunswick Naval Air Base. We were always ready to move every two years, but somehow when we got to Maine we ended up staying in Harpswell. Then in 1992 he told me he was assigned as the executive officer in Sicily for two years. We had 35 days to rent this house and get our boys ready, to get visas, to get shots. So we are used to planning.

What did you think when Don wanted to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail at age 66?

I had known it was always on his bucket list. I guess it wasn’t until (outdoor writer) Carey Kish said he was doing it this year. Don was thinking about that. He knew there might not be another chance. So they decided to do it together.

When they decided to leave on March 18, Don decided what I would need to send him and when. I knew his planning, knowing Don’s military experience, would be right down to the detail. Sometimes I wonder how people who don’t have someone like that get through the trail. For the most part he told me how many (freeze-dried) dinners, how many lunches and breakfasts he would need me to mail, and when to send it to what post office. He even had printed labels for me. He would tell me how many granola bars, how many candy bars, right down to how many dried apricots. Every two weeks I put together a box to mail. I get the flat-rate box at the post office that’s $17.95. Sometimes I have to sit on it to get it closed. But Don had it all calculated out.

Everyone talks about how hard it is for the thru-hikers, but you’ve given up so much, right?

I don’t look at it like that. I want to be positive support. And I want him to succeed. If I do this, I contribute to his success. I’m adding this to his life. People here ask me how me and my son are doing. But I’ve been a Navy wife through five to six deployments. This is a walk in the park. One of our tenants needed a new washer and dryer. Things happen. But there were no major tragedies while he was gone.

Does the story about the missing Tennessee hiker, Geraldine Largay, cross your mind?

No. I trust Don’s ability. … He is so safety conscious and organized. He’ll be fine. If he was hiking solo for a while I’d worry he might have a heart attack. But I don’t dwell on that. I could drive myself nuts. And I think he’s in good shape. I don’t think he would push himself too hard.

When did he come off the trail and do you think he’ll go back?

He came off the trail at the end of May. He was supposed to go back (Friday) with friends of ours who are driving to Roanoke, but now he’s helping the (local) swim program, so I think he’ll wait until that’s done. He may go back and do what he can do this year, or next year. It will be an unconventional thru-hike.

I think there are people who are more disappointed he came off than he is. He has a big cheering section of people he hadn’t heard from in years. Plus all the people in Harpswell following his blog. They’re all cheering for him. He’s not doing this alone.

At one point on the trail he said he couldn’t get a phone connection for his blog. And I said, “You’re not on this journey to stay in touch with people. You’re on this journey to find out about who you are. It’s OK if people lose touch with you.” This is the man who didn’t want a cellphone. He never wanted to do Facebook. I said that’s not what the AT is about.

What have you learned?

When I was reading his blogs, I was fantasizing about doing it one day. … I like challenges. But my hips and knees wouldn’t allow it. But he can do it now, so I live vicariously through him.

What’s the most important thing you bring to the journey?

My commitment to the dream. I just want to give him whatever support he needs so he can do the dream.