Adventure Updates

AT Trail Update 1

My diary so far minus any editing so sorry for typos!

April 6

Day 2 on the trail is about to end here. My family dropped me off at Springer a little later in the day than I would have liked to have gone so rather than risk setting up camp in the dark I chose to crash at shelter numero uno, which overall only had 3 other campers despite the 50 plus campers. Aside from weekenders and scouting troops I reckon everyone was just excited about setting up the I tents. Lessons learned on day 1: sa-an oo-an and wan-an are good morning/afternoon/night in Chinese and if you plan to have your dog hiking partner clean up your uneaten food, do so BEFORE giving him his meals, and before troops feed him honey ham and zebra butterfly cakes. Oh did I mention I’m hiker 986.(I remembered BC my new friend “butterfly” who gave us the snack cakes was #985) Pretty cool cuz its the same when flipped 180 degrees.

This morning i was up and on the trail by 7ish and at mile 6ish i experienced my first bout of trail magic. The georgia adventurers group had set up shop and was cooking hot dogs and passing out fruit and candy and other goodies to hikers, Now I’m camping at hawk mtn shelter. I had an 8 mile day and wanted to do more but were supposed to get a thunderstorm and I didn’t wanna risk the 7 mile walk to gooch gap and get caught in the storm. So I quit early and staked my claim as the first hiker to settle at hawk mtn shelter. I’d never seen a privy so full… others began to arrive we broke out cards and out f the 14 adults the only game we could think of was go fish. So we fished until someone decided to build a fire. Somehow I was elected to build the durn thing but the ground was so wet, so I turned it over to my new friend and weekender James, who was able to get a bright burning fire roaring with the aid of half a tub of hand sanitizer. I also met two hikers around my age, Jeff and Charlotte who I think I’ll become good friends with. Charlotte and I decided to call a hostel and see if they accept dogs, which they do. So that will be our goal for tomorrow, giving us a 10ish, possibly 6 depending on how bad this incoming storm turns out to be. Right on.

April 7

So storming was a little inaccurate. Complete and total downpour more like. I feel bad for all of our non shelter friends who arrived too late to claim a shelter space, they all go soaked. Funny, multiple people who’d dished out hundreds of dollars for the big Agnes tents were no better off. Note to self, when rain is forecasted fight for shelter space.
We woke up and Hanna Jeff Charlotte and I were the first to head out. Jeff and hannah quickly passed us but luckily Charlotte and I have a similar go-stop-go pace. We crossed two bigger creeks and got a little soaked. The plan was to hike 12ish miles to woody gap and call a hostel. In reality with the rain and steep rocky up hills we hiked 7 to gooch gap, called a ride once we realized everyone who’d been there the night before had decided to take a zero day. Me of those individuals was miss Amy, a fellow trials blogger. I was impressed to see the girl has brought a huge ass book to read along the tral. The thing must have weighed at least a lb. Gram weanie problems. Anyways from there six of us hiked a mile to the next road and spent the night at a hiker hostel called the wolf pen gap country store and hostel. We paid five bucks for laundry and twenty for the nights stay and it was worth every damn penny for a warm dry bed. I feel like a weenie to be settling down in a hostel on night number 3 but whatever I’m a dry weenie.

April 8

So today we woke up in a hostel cleaned, showered and full of pizza and candy. The four of us, Jeff Hannah and Charlotte hitched a ride back to suches gap and hit the trail. We stopped for several relaxing breaks at the many mountain stream crossings and took off our shoes and relaxed at a great rock view of the valley below. After lunch with our new friends who it turns out were the zero dayers from gooch shelter the night before, we settled down at lance creek campsite. Amy strolled in not long after us along with the brothers from gooch/lunch. Hannah gave tom his hat that had been left behind at their hostel. Oh and they have trail names now too. Fire sauce, pockets and fucking majestic. Oh and great idea #1: flavored water purification  tabs.

April 9

Another awesome day, OK to be honest I didn’t write jack last night. We hiked out of lance creek and made it to the walasi yi center at mountain crossing. The girls got pack shakedowns and Hannah got a new tent to replace her bivy tarp combo. I sent home scouts old pack and a few random items and immediately wished I’d spent more time analyzing the contents of my pack. I meant to send home a spare set of clothes and a bowl from my cookset. O well there’s always next time. We kept hiking very confused until we just barely passed swain creek gasp and camped by a broken tree hanging over the trail. Hannah and I perfected the bear bag hanging method used on the pacific create trail. See attached poorly drawn sketch. After we woke up late and headed out scout twisted a paw and i took his pack for the day while he walked off a small limp. I gave him aspirin and he aeemed to do ok. We hit trail magic at hog pen gap. A small group of friends with a former thru hiker were celebrating his thru hike start date by bringing hikers sodas and fruit. Scout enjoyed a new buddy when he met a rottie named Easy. We hiked on mostly separate and I stressed out because I’d forgotten to resupply our water at hogpen, distracted by trail magic. The fiveish mile stretch was easy and mostly flat but little man was clearly exhausted. I refilled at the first spring I saw and looked over my shoulder and saw….the freaking shelter. We were there. Hannah and Charlotte….pockets and fire sauce I mean…kept going to blue mtn shelter while majestic n I stayed for the night and claimed shelter space. It a sweet shelter, water n bear cables, the works. The other girls caught up as well as Amy and the brothers and graham cracker and his dad who were on their lat day of their eight day adventure. Cracker got a fire going (pictured)and the rest of us hung out in the shelter until bed. The plan is to wake up super early and head out asap to meet the girls at tray gap shelter. Short day for them, long day for us but I’m glad scout got a break. Tomorrow’s gonna be mostly flat until the latter part of the day and in two days time we should hit hiwassee. Over halfway down with Georgia!!! Let’s do this!!!

April 11

OK so today honestly was my roughest day thus far. I woke up from low gap and hit the trail by 730. By 11 I was at blue mtn shelter where scout and i finished off the last of our delicious cookie spread while conversing with two soloists, sky eyes who’d stayed at low gap the night before and asked 15 year old cracker for weed, and angry Bird, a former thru hiker doing a section on his break from work. We crushed the first, easy half of the day and during our second half, from unicoi gap to tray mtnb I nearly died. Kay not literally, but an already worn out dog hiker combination plus two steep up then downhill elevation changes of over a thousand feet made for an exhausting wipe out. I was almost in tears but the lack of water for a six mile stretch put both a physical and mental strain on me. I hit tray by 3 pm, only an hr after Charlotte and Hannah. Charlotte I learned through the grape vine had acquired a new trail name to replace fire sauce…bear claw. My first thought was the delicious pastry, but turns out she earned the name by cutting a claw off of a dead baby bear along the side of the trail. If heard about it through the hiker grapevine the day before, and the fearsome foursome had discussed collecting battle trophies of our adventure  but I couldn’t believe shed actually found it. I’d charged through so fast I’d missed collecting a prize that would be a surefire conversation starter for years to come. Turns out the thing was half rotten and the tiny cubs claw was so small I probably would have buried it with my damn trowel rather than hack its big toe off. Poor bear. So after being both depressed and jealous of the tiny claw i set up shop in the shelter on top of tray mtn. I had carried scouts pack all day BC he’d limped a bit in the beginning and I didn’t want to push him, especially on a longer day. 15 miles, our longest yet. I hurt. Everything hurt. I was in tears. I cooked with my friends and tried to stifle the searing pain that had started in my right knee by downing an unhealthy dose of pain killers. Then something amazing happened. Just like in the stories, trail magic floated in when it was needed the most. Three angels by the names of Todd beth and Pete hiked in with sandwiches, cookies, chips, apples ice and….beer!!! Yeungling to be exact, the best beer I’d ever tasted as of that moment. I’d had it plenty of times before however today it was magical. Magic beer, trded for beagle stickers which led to my usual shpeel and Todd produced two dollars from his pocket fort the cause. Scout played with other dogs and I passed out in a sweet slumber of beer and full bellies. worse day turned to best moment yet. I love how the at turns things around like that. I cant wait until my turn to return the trail magic and make someone’s day magical.

April 12

Woke up bright and early at tray shelter with my new buddies and packed up for an eleven mile day. I learned that by mixing water with a little bit of honey and granola I could make a sweet and crunchy cereal on the go. Scout and I headed out before the crowd and eightish miles in we stopped for water where we met Courtesy and his son Big Horn, two section hikers trying to meet some thru hikers they’d seen off at springer the weekend before. We dropped packs and walked .3 m off trail to claim our prize, the only waster source for a five mile stretch. Upon returning to the trail, my friends had caught up and we continued the hike, pockets and I taking the lead. We crashed onto park benches at dicks creek gap and waited for the rest of the crew to file in as we fought for signal. Alexandria and Jessica were the only ones with signal and they called our hotel. Problem … The budget in was jam packed full of guests, no rooms left. We called around and no luck, either the hotels lacked rooms. Didn’t answer or hated dogs, we settled for the top of Georgia, a new hostel that had been opened for nearly a month. Our shuttle diver dropped us off and we were instantly greeted by a huge jerk who screamed  no dogs even though wed called ahead to confirm. The owner came out and immediately baby talked scout. Scout responded with a wag and a single lick. Over ruled, beagle could stay. The only condition was that scout and I had to tent camp outside, but I was still able to shower and do laundry. That’s all I cared about. We even got a foot bath that night consisting of hot water and marbles. We rolled our feel in marble tubs while the owner gave advice and showed pictures from his own adventures.  We took a shuttle into Hiwassee and got a little tipsy at a Mexican restaurant. Half the crew went for the top of Georgia, the other half, being beagle less decided to shoot for a holiday inn in the center of town. Scout took a nap outside the restaurant whole the waiter, familiar with the hiking community, continued bringing us extra alcohol from the bottom of the blender when others ordered drinks. I downed a double shot of tequila with no chaser and everyone clapped. I’m not a beast, I was just too tipsy to taste it, and it bit me in the ass end minutes after when I was running around ingles grocery store like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get food for me and danny while she watched scout. 15 mins to grocery shop while being drunk and trying not to miss the last shuttle back to the hostel led to some shitty decisions. Like, no snacks or lunches just breakfasts and dinners. Or like getting back to the hostel, realizing you got too much and -still drunk- sending half of your shit home. Good job Brittany. The hostel gave me scrubs so I could wash every bit of clothing I owned, and my shower revealed my sun tan was more dirt than sexy tan. Finally, in setting up my tent i realized my sleeping pad was gone. Totally missing. After packing up that morning I hadn’t ever opened my main compartment and the only time I’d left my pack was to get water. Could a day hiker have swiped it? The lowest crime on the at is theft, mainly BC no on wants to carry extra heavy crap. The other girls left after me and said the shelter was empty, it hadn’t been left behind. Freaking a… After a breakfast and fight with Mr cranky hostel worker over who’d paid for breakfast, I purchased a new sleeping pad from the hostel, a more compact model. I caught the 830am shuttle back to the trail and turned my phone on. Jesse had texted me asking me to call him asap. Be news was to follow…

April 13

Turns it, on his was to work that morning while cruising 70mph down the interstate Jesse had slammed into a deer….. In my car. Unable to get online or do anything, I told him where to find the ins information and to contact my mom. A mile into the trail, struggling to not cry about the events of the past few he’s, I saw some trail magic. A single beer beautiful and cold was propped up against a water side trail sign. I broke down. For a half hour I drank my beer and sobbed to my mom on the phone. I’d hit my low. Car was totaled, pad was stolen. Dog was limping and not eating his food. Every joint hurt. “Do you want to go home?” My mom asked softly over the phone. My response came immediately. Hell no. I wasn’t even close to being done. The past week was amazing. I wasn’t giving that up for little bumps in the road. I sobered up, crushed four miles to orchard gap shelter, and spent the afternoon laying in the sun with danny and Walter white while everyone else tickled in to our first three story shelter. It was the perfect night to make up for such crappy news. A religious group called the youth with a mission, ywam trickled in and not only gave me chocolate and coffee, but one woman who was seeing her husband the next day agreed to carry a letter for me to the nearest mailbox. It was a update to Jesse that contained a check for rent that was past due, she was our life saver. I bonded with my crew as well as new friends, and had a great night to rebound from the bad news.

April 14

This morning we woke up and danny came up to me looking guilty. She pulled out my orange thermarest stuff sack and original sleeping pad , which was similar in size and color to her big Agnes tent bag. Danny was the swiper, she’d packed it in the shelter at tray mountain thinking it was her tent and at the hostel hadn’t noticed BC she hasn’t needed a pad or tent. So now I’ve got 2 sleeping pads. Eff. Lucky for me Jeff doesn’t have one and in exchange for using it he carried it all day. We hit the Georgia north Carolina line four miles after the shelter and waited for everyone to take a go pro selfie, beagle included. A super steep foggy rainy uphill hike after I hit muskrat creek shelter, where my ywam angels gave me chocolate. Moments after my arrival the downpour began. The crew filed in one by one and were all currently hunkered down. I’m guessing were turning a 4p shelter into a 10 p group snuggle fest BC the downpour and wind have dropped the temp super low. Jeff and the other guys even jimmy rigged a tarp so Alex could sleep in her tent since she hates the idea of mice. This shelter was also the site of an older plane crash and bits of hull were scattered I around the forest floor, never reclaimed. This shelter wasn’t as pretty as many of the newer, closer to civilization (therefore better maintained) shelters and the entire thing was one massive graffiti fest. The shelter itself was a living log book. I drew a horse and a beagle, adding to the chaos, and snuggled in for the night. Sean, the younger of the brothers, finished his butt blaster, now a daily meal, and set up shop on the table since no room was left in the shelter. We fell asleep joking that if he fell off in his sleeping bag he wouldn’t be able to free his arms in time to break his fall, and that his trail name became bear burrito. Hey its better than butt blaster.

April 15

So much rain. Thunder a little, but mostly just nonstop freezing rain. According to the bear burrito, we also had a bear cub visitor, but no one knows if he was dreaming or not. It was a slow morning, no on wanted to venture out into the wetness. I was thankful that I had not hung my stuff out on a clothesline like everyone else, their hiking clothes got soaked. Lazily, I dragged myself out of bed, sleeping beagle still snoring in my bag, and put on my dry but still very smelly hiking clothes. I was the first one to venture out into the drizzle for the day, and had to stop and take a picture of Chunky Gal Trail, which I had seen referenced in many trail stories and diaries. Gosh, its so cool how all of my stories were coming to life. On by one I’m actually visiting the places and meeting the people and experiencing the trail magic referred to in my books. Awesome. Well, I was taking it slow picking over the wet mossy rocks and sean and Alex quickly caught u with me. Sean slipped and banged his knee up pretty badly. Wed also seen weather reports that the temperature was supposed to drop below freezing that night and thee three of us swerved in to standing Indian shelter where we met Kenny, danny and Walter white were bundled up taking a zero day. Amy, Jeff and the others decided to keep going but Charlotte and I stayed fearing the next shelter, another seven miles out, would be full. The shelter filled up fast, making us glad we had already saved our spots in the shelter. I was fed and in bed wearing everything but my wet rainy t and shorts by one, shivering, when it started snowing… was going to be a very very long night.

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Photo updates of the past few weeks…



Playing around at Angel’s Rest



Scout and I in the snow after our surprise 18inches!



I was asked to join The Good Badger’s bloggers on the Appalachian Trials website!




Had a good hike to Dragon’s Tooth (Ranger’s first time rock climbing and wearing a pack)Image

Playin on the trail again…





Beagle’s are perfect trail companions, energetic enough to keep up but lazy enough to crash when you make camp and not cause problems! 





Got my team Reeve T !

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3/5 UPDATES!!!

Hey Y’all!

I know its been a while since my last update, (so many things, so little time left!!!) but here we go! So to update you on my progress, I have been finalizing details, prepping mail drops and deciding on WHERE to send them, highlighting my AWOL guide like crazy for dog friendly places and so on, and getting all the last minute gear together. I will be posting a ‘gear guide’ here in the next week or so, so stay tuned for a video and update on the gear page on this site! One thing that I’ve noticed the internet is severely lacking in that would have been more helpful for my choosing the gear that I have would be more before vs after thru hiking gear comparisons. There are a few out there on youtube that showcase specific individuals and their before/after choices, and I def have watched those again and again for reference to see if maybe I’m packing too much or the wrong thing. So I am def going to  be creating a before and after video post-trail to hopefully help future thru-hikers make decisions. Hopefully someone will find it useful or at least learn something from my failures in years to come. 

Anyways, UPDATE!!! I have a trail name! In ref to my love for ponies, my wild child streak, and my accident I have taken the trail name “Rodeo”. You can look forward to the adventures of Rodeo and Scout the Adventure Beagle not ONLY through this blog and other social media forms, but also through APPALACHIAN TRIALS! I got an email from Zach last week inviting me to be one of his 2014 bloggers and I’m beside myself with excitement to start writing! If you have anything you’d like to see or article topics you want to suggest, LMK!!!

Gear talk time. So I had ordered a super comfy therm a rest pad, which I LOVED and slept on for a week straight. Then Jesse’s darn puppy Ranger ate it. Like literally. Rolled up in its stuff sack, the damn dog ate my sleeping pad. Then, after I had it re-rolled and ready for disposal, he FREAKING ATE IT AGAIN….-_- so now my gear shelf is way high up and out of the reach of evil puppies. At least I’d gotten it on  sale. So anyways, I’m still searching for a replacement sleeping pad, but the majority of my gear has been collected. I got an amazing deal from Osprey and ordered a pack from them, when it gets here later this week I’ll go into more detail, and was accepted for a program with Ruffwear who is going to allow me to get great deals on gear for the little man as well. I got my t shirt from Team Reeve, which is a pretty light blue athletic shirt that matches 90% of my gear (how did they know??? <3) Things are coming along well and I’m getting ready for the biggest adventure of my life, I just wish someone would fast forward time a few weeks! 

Until next time, happy trails! 


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Badger Sponsorship Application Video

So my video didn’t get accepted as a finalist for the Badger Sponsorship but I thought I’d post it anyways, who knows maybe I can redo it and get some attention for my cause anyways? =) Anyways, enjoy for now!

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Donation Page For Team Reeve Up n Runnin!


The late Christopher Reeve, immortalized as ‘Superman’ on the big screen, and as a visionary and hero in his personal life, wisely stated, “At first something seems impossible; then it becomes improbable; but with enough conviction and support it becomes inevitable.”

Currently in the United States, there are nearly 1 in 50 people living with paralysis — approximately 6 million people. That’s the same number of people as the combined populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. And that number is nearly 33% higher than previous estimates showed.

Great strides have been made; people are living healthier, vibrant lives, and some are walking again thanks to the work of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The Reeve Foundation is committed to finding treatments and cures for spinal cord injuries. To achieve this goal, the Foundation funds some of the most brilliant minds in neuroscience – researchers who are poised to deliver the answers that will change the lives of spinal cord injured people worldwide.

As many of you have seen from my blog, in October of 2013 I suffered from a horse back riding accident that left me with a concussion and a crushed vertebra. I spent three months in a back brace hardly able to twist and do daily tasks as my spine slowly began to heal itself. I lost my job as a large animal tech and it seemed like my life was falling apart just after I’d gotten it together from graduating school and starting a career. I’m normally a very physically active, outdoorsy person and suddenly there was so much I couldn’t do. One thing that became a major part of the healing process however, was planning something I had only ever dreamed of: backpacking across the United States on the Appalachian Trail. The AT is a 2,200 mile hiking trail stretching from Georgia to Maine and on average will take about 5-6 months to complete. Finally the back brace is gone and I’ve been able to recondition myself with various strength building exercises and routines. The doctors have cleared me for takeoff and come April, I will see you all on the trail!

Now a big part of the hiker community is the motto ‘pay it forward’. It means pay back the kindness and the ‘trail magic’ that was shown to you both on trail and at various points in your life. Lets see if we can pull together and raise $2,200 for Team Reeve. This money will enable continued research, education, and services for patients and their families. Together we can hopefully help inspire other people to step outside of their comfort zones and have an adventure, no matter heir limitations!!!

Joining the team or making a donation to the Reeve Foundation is simple. I have set up a webpage to make it easy to donate online (via credit card or PayPal). See the link below. You can even use this link to donate via your smartphone.

All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Happy Trails,
Brittany and Scout

PS: You can also make a check out to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (be sure to include my name and All Stars in the memo field)and mail to:

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 3A
Short Hills, NJ 07078
Attn: Team Reeve


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Why Am I Hiking The Trail?


At the advice of a Mr. Zach Davis, author of Appalachian Trials, I have created my own version of lists to motivate me as to my reasoning behind this hike. The idea is that whenever I hit a rough patch on the trail, or when I want to go home and give up, this should be my motivator to stay on track, reminding me WHY I’m hiking. If nothing else, it will remind me how much I would be disappointed in myself if I wasn’t able to finish (didn’t your parent’s ever tell you how disappointed they were in you after you got in trouble? Doesn’t that hurt worse than any spanking?). So without further ado and in no particular order, I give you my reasons:


I am Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

  • I’m out of college but haven’t yet begun a career. I have no major commitments at this point in my life and won’t be at a stage like this again until I retire from my chosen career path.  I don’t want to put living off until I’m 3/4 done with my life.
  • Because I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and the injury from this broken back, I am afraid that I won’t be able  to do the things I can do now when I’m older
  • I’ve been enamored with the trail since I first learned about it at Summer Camp and have been jealous every time I’ve met a thru-hiker veteran. I want to be a part of the AT Community and not let life (and hikers) pass me by.
  • Rather than filling out countless job applications for post-college employment, I want to take a little while to breath and hopefully learn which direction I should be heading towards
  • I had a close call with my accident and I was very lucky that it wasn’t more serious. I never want to let go of my active, adventurous lifestyle and I want to share that kind of lifestyle with others. Old people or young, in shape or in shapes, sick or healthy, handicapped or not -it doesn’t matter….I hope that whatever funny, terrible, painful, exciting, boring, sweaty, smelly, soaked, dirty, greasy, hungry, aching, blilstered, hot, cold, and exhausting adventures I have will give people a good laugh, maybe teach them something or help them prepare for their own adventure, and inspire people to step just beyond the boundary of their comfort zone.
  • Mom told me I needed to walk my dog more.

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • Have so many hilarious stories and new friends that I met along the way.
  • Always pay it forward and do my part for Trail Magic
  • Gain a better understanding of who I am and how I plan to tackle life post-school
  • Hopefully have a revolutionary ‘lightbulb’ moment that will in turn fund future adventures like this one. Perhaps turn to writing or blogging to teach others, inspire and share stories.
  • Be able to handle whatever life throws at me. If I can survive bears, wild cats, raccoons, ticks, venomous snakes and MEN out in the woods while carrying all my belonings on my back like a turtle, I can certainly deal with trivial modern day obstacles.
  • Get another tattoo marking the latest major milestone of my life (sorry in advance Mom)

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • Probably delete my facebook and never do anything worth mentioning
  • Basically have signed my life away to working a meaningless job with no recognition or future, rather than bringing out my bubbly personality and inspiring others.
  • Consider myself a tourist in my own country, not someone who has a deep understanding, love and appreciation for the land.
  • Have to answer to all of the ‘I told you so!”s from my friends and family who thought I was a nutcase from the beginning.
  • Try again the following year
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Tweets @ATTrailMagic

Tweets @ATTrailMagic

Hey y’all so I finally broke down! After years of refusing to hop on the Twitter Train, I have created an account to continue spreading the word of this adventure through the use of social media. Be sure to follow me at ATTrailMagic (I promise I won’t flood you with constant posts!). 

Happy Trails! 


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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” -Unknown

Finally we got snow! Not much, only about half an inch but it was enough to make the chill in the air worth it. Jesse and I decided to take the boys out to see if the Cascades waterfall had frozen over and sure enough, we got to see quite a sight at 9am this morning. We woke up early and hiked through freezing temperatures, the dogs even had booties on, but it was worth it. The prints in the snow showed that only two people had beaten us to the falls that morning, but we def met several excited groups on our way down. Took some pix to share with everyone, but honestly its late and were planning another frozen adventure tomorrow (not sure where yet) so I’m off to bed once I get these posted! Stay warm, watch out for ice, and Happy Trails! ❤


Imagecascades 004 cascades 006 cascades 008 cascades 010 cascades 011 cascades 012 cascades 015 cascades 016 cascades 018 cascades 022 cascades 024 cascades 026 cascades 028 cascades 029 cascades 033 cascades 039 cascades 042






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Just what the doctor ordered! A recap of the last 3 months.

So as you all know I was involved in a horse back riding accident in mid October that left me with a concussion and a severe compression fracture on my L4 vertebrae. For the first few days I was stuck in bed, hardly able to move my toes but thankfully showing no real signs of permanent nerve damage. Bruised, broken and swollen all over, I was fitted for a very itchy and uncomfortable brace that I am pretty sure was constructed by no one less than Satan himself, and was sent home to rest up for what was predicted to be roughly two months. Two months of no bending, twisting, lifting, riding horses, or pretty much anything fun. At the time I was working as a large animal technician at the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and due to my injury and inability to perform the requirements of the job I was terminated from their employment. So great, stuck in a brace with no horses, no work, and no income. Times were about to get tight for sure.


Just under the two week mark from my accident, I called a newer friend up, a Mr. Jesse Hutchison, desperate to get out of the house. I was going stir crazy and needed to see something besides the inside of my bedroom. With Jesse’s help in supporting me (like, literally. I physically needed help for almost every rock or step we passed) I was able to make it up the small Cascades hike that I had done dozens of times before while in attending college. What I had once considered an easy hike fit for kindergarten field trips had become not only a struggle, but an intense workout.


As the weeks dragged on my newfound free time allowed for the planning and plotting and concocting that is now turning into my Thru-Hike. Jesse and I began making it a regular thing to get out and take Scout, my now overweight beagle and long time hiking partner, on whatever hikes we could manage. Back brace and all, I got back in sync with the only thing I loved doing just as much as I loved working with horses. I took time back from my busy schedule of work and barn and work and barn and work and sleep and food and barn. I spent time with my family. I reconnected with old friends. I celebrated holidays without distractions. Jesse and I picked up my dad from the airport on his way home from Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day. I had time to start planning this thru-hike I am about to embark on. At first it seemed like my life fell apart right when it was coming together, but now I see that everything happens for a reason, exactly the way it is supposed to happen. I would probably be overworked and unhappy with my job still if my green little horse hadn’t spooked that day.



So Jesse and I hiked. We hiked everywhere, McAfees Knob, Dragon’s Tooth, Pandapas Pond, Tinker Cliffs, State Parks, National Parks, all over the local sections of the AT…. and with each hike I knew that although I was taking a huge risk, I was making the right decision to give up work for five to six months to backpack with my dog from Georgia to Maine. To WALK, 2,200 miles just six months after breaking my back. There are a million reasons why I am hiking, to raise awareness and support for the Christopher Reeve Foundation, to take a break from school and work in order to find out what I want to do with my life, to get into better shape and physically push myself, but on reason above all remains. I am hiking because I can. I am hiking in celebration of my life and my ability to do what so many others cannot. I am hiking because no matter what struggles life pushes at me, I know that I can overcome them and that I will always be able to keep moving forward.

Yesterday I went in to the Dr’s for ANOTHER series of radiographs and bending and twisting exercises. They have officially, FINALLY cleared me to lose the brace altogether. Sweetness….I still have a stunted range of motion, and I still have back pain that will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. But I am mobile, I can bend and move and lift and twist and even (slowly) run again. I can swim and go to the gym and carry my own groceries and tie my shoes and wrestle with our dogs and I even got a new job at a call center that, surprisingly I love. I have new friends and old friends and am happy. This broken back might have been just the thing the doctor ordered to set my life straight after all. =)


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Stay warm guys! Several Announcements!!!

Stay warm guys! BRING YOUR PETS INSIDE!!! For anyone planning to adventure out in the arctic conditions we are all currently experiencing, make sure to dress warm and stay safe! Those rocks get slippery and with conditions reaching the negative digits all over the US you’ve got to layer up! In fact, here is a great article on the art of layering with some good comparisons of diff materials and what to look for depending on the type of hike you are about to endure. Def worth checking out! =)




In other news, I know it may be a little premature but. the plates on my car ran up and since I had to get new ones anyways…..


ERHMERGERD!!!! I am so freaking excited about this hike and cannot wait until its time to depart! I’ve collected most of the gear I need from some very generous people, Christmas and through my own searching and ghetto-rigging. (For ex, why spend money on a ditty bag when you can just modify those cheapo drawstring bags companies pass out for free? They end up at goodwill for like 10c and all you need to do is cut one of the two drawstring straps off (the remaining strap has a variety of uses!) 

In other other news, I found a hiking partner too! Several new friends and I have been trying to coordinate start dates and while nothing is set in stone with any of them yet, the boyfriend has decided that he too is going to take part in long distance hiking. Whether or not Jesse decides to do the whole thing will depend on several factors as we move along the trail (him coming along would mean either bringing Ranger -the new dog- who is still pretty new to the whole scene or finding someone back home to long-term pet sit. There is a LOT of planing and detailing and gear collecting on his end but either way it will be awesome to have a definite hiking partner for the start of the trip. So everyone wish Jesse and Ranger good luck in preparing themselves for a good long hike too! Also to my guy buddies, Jesse is in need of pretty much everything for backpacking so if you have a sleeping bag or other gear please let us know what you’d want for it! We are already set on stoves, water filters, etc. 



For those of you wondering what’s going on with Scout the Adventure Beagle, he’s pretty much in hibernation mode (along with Jesse’s puppy Ranger. They are finally starting to like one another!)


Anyways, YAY! So excited, remember to help out you can always donate at my gofundme account (link in toolbar above) and if you have any gear you are looking to donate or sell at a cheapo price, lmk what you’ve got! =) 

Thanks guys and as always, Happy Trails! 


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