Appalachian Trail: Here I Come Again

Many of you have already heard the news but for the ones who are not in the loop, I’m heading back! Last year, I packed my bags, well my one backpack, and ventured out to the unknown, the Appalachian Trail. One of the oldest long-distant trails in the world. After some 700 miles, I was called back home to take care of my beautiful and loving Father, Dad.

My Dear Dad Jerry & His Dog Buddy

All of us have obligations, along with family and friends, that are near and dear to our hearts. My Dad is one of those giants in my life. He is the Last Mohican, the only living elder. I had the opportunity to leave my hike last year and help him return to a healthy, worthwhile and long-lasting life. After numerous surgeries and rehab, Dad was walking to the park, heading back to church and playing a round of golf. This could not have been done without the love and support of my sister Kari. She truly was the glue that held everything together. Our God is so good!

Dad in Minden, Nevada Teeing Up

I shared with my family, including Dad, that I wanted to return to the trail this year. There is something that calls me back. This love of nature and my intense desire to walk long-distances, are passions that my sweet Jesus placed on my heart. I cannot deny it or squelch it. And most importantly, I love sharing my faith with the hikers I meet along the way.

Some of the Gang from Last Year “The Walking Wounded”

Many have asked if I plan to start all over? To be considered a thru-hike you are required to hike the entire trail in one calendar year. Being I have already hiked from Georgia to Virginia, 700 plus miles, I decided to begin my hike this year at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

Harper’s Ferry is a logical choice to start. It happens to be the home of the ATC, otherwise known as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. And logistically, it is an easy place to land. I’ll fly into Washington D.C., board a train and within an hour, I’ll arrive in downtown Harper’s Ferry. Being I’m at the symbolic halfway point, I’ll continue 1,100 miles northbound to Maine. When I reach Mt. Katahdin, I’ll flip-flop back to Harper’s Ferry and head a little over 300 miles south to McAfee Knob. This will connect my footpath and all 2,194 miles will be covered. Sounds like a perfect plan, and God-willing, I’ll start this journey in mid-May.

Mt. Katahdin, Maine this Winter

So what’s next? I’m prepping by walking and hiking daily, or close to it. Being I live in NorCal, it’s been hit and miss with torrential rainfall this year. I’m always amazed by the quality of gear, and clothing is no exception. I am testing all of it, in the best and worse conditions. Rain, sleet and snow, it’s been worn, tested and reviewed. If only I could figure out a clothing option for humidity 🤔

My Training Partner Atsuko – One of my few friends that embrace the rain

The weather back east has been typical. Rainy and wet, but nothing like we’ve had on the west coast. Some hikers are already on the trail, braving through some cold temperatures and light snow flurries. By the time I arrive, it’ll be spring with warmer days and humidity on the horizon. I hope that I can slowly embrace the heat as it will be one of my biggest obstacles. There’s not much you can do but grin and bare it, while trying to do more miles in the early morning, and drinking lots of water with electrolytes.

Just Posted in Tennessee- 18 degrees 🥶

My next step is determining my resupply points and my daily mileage. I developed a Spreadsheet last year, which was promptly disregarded, as I couldn’t keep up with my daily mile projections. My lofty goal this go around is 100 miles per week, as I did on the Pacific Crest Trail, which may or may not happen. One step at a time, one day at a time, is honesty, all I can mustard up. God has a perfect plan laid out ahead of me and I am open to follow his lead.

One Pathway – One Step – One God

Today is seven weeks till I return to the Appalachian Trail. I am excited and thrilled to be part of something that is much bigger than me. Each time I plan and prep for these two legged adventures, I need to access my reasons and timing. The Lord is my source of inspiration and guidance. He will direct me, He will assure me, and he will pave my way. As we listen to his voice, and follow his ways, we will find peace in our heart and soul. I have a tremendous joy as I follow his path, one step at a time.

He goes before me. Thank you Lord for paving the way, long before I set foot on the trail. You are my strength, my guide and the light on my feet.

7 thoughts on “Appalachian Trail: Here I Come Again

  1. Kelly I’m so excited that you are going back and God willing will complete the Applilachian trail. Can’t wait to follow your journey and see God at work as you share the gospel along the trail. God bless you and keep you safe and healthy along the way and full of His joy.
    I will be enjoying my morning lattes as I follow your preparation and journey stories.
    If your dad wants to golf he is more than welcome to come play golf with us here in Dayton NV. We are a hop, skip and a jump from Minden!
    Happy Easter Season!
    Your faithful follower,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m excited for you, Kelly. You have found your calling, a missionary to the through-hikers of this world. I am sure the Lord loves how you prepare thoroughly not just through physical fitness and testing you gear and clothing, but through the time spent with Him in prayer and in his Word. Love you, girl! You’re an inspiration to me and many others!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wish you the best trip, glad your Dad is well and your able to return and finish what you started. I feel your excitement to return to the peace and tranquility the trail emits.

    Liked by 1 person

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