3.5 months. Oh my!

Here we are- three and a half months away from the trail. The logistics are full force!

It’s official. We are no longer South Carolina residents and have moved up to our hometown- Roanoke, Virginia. Ok, technically we’re still SC residents because I haven’t been able to brave the DMV yet. We feel like we’re on a holiday vacation seeing our family whenever we want. We haven’t been able to do that in 6 years! It’s so nice to be back home.

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The view of the Blue Ridge mountains out our new living quarter- Derrick’s mom and dad’s beautiful home where they graciously let us stay!

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Moving from our first house in Greenville, SC to Roanoke, VA!

Here’s what we’re doing to get ready:

1- Selling our possessions. A thru hike is expensive and one of the top reasons hikers have to stop is because they run out of money. We don’t want that to happen! So on top of saving extra cash here and there, we’ve also sold a lot of our things. Including our house. This also minimizes our responsibilities while we’re on the trail.

2- Requesting sponsorships/donations. This has been very time consuming, but well worth the time. We are incredibly thankful for our food sponsors and hopefully gear/clothing sponsors on the way. As of now, we have about 1/4 of our trail food accounted for by sponsors. Thank you all so much.

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Who could say no to this face?!

3- Route planning. This is just a rough layout because I’m sure our route plans will change 562,345 times along the way. But in our circumstances, we need to know exactly where we img_3020can have our resupply packages sent, how to avoid crowds so Ellie can get a good night’s rest, and how to time our trip with seasonal weather changes.  We currently live right by the trail in VA. Over this winter we plan to complete a small amount of the local trail in day trips to get Ellie accustomed to being outside all day
long and test out some gear before we head out for 6 months. This will also help us get some miles under our belt in case we take extra long with Ellie. An “official” thru hike is completing the trail within 1 calendar year.

4- Getting physically ready. I don’t suppose it’s a good idea to be a couch potato all winter then put 45 lbs. on my back and expect to feel amazing. This week I plan to start carrying

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Ellie getting adjusted by Dr. Holly!

Ellie in the backpack on my neighborhood walk instead of pushing her in the stroller and slowly add more weight to the pack each week. All 3 of us have been going to the most amazing chiropractor to get our bodies ready! Along with getting physically ready, mental readiness is just as important. I don’t really have any ideas on how to get mentally ready… but birthing Ellie unmedicated is a pretty good test, right?

5- Trial and error. There are still so many things to figure out… cloth diapers or disposable? What kind of dinners should we cook? 2 or 3 sleeping pads? Down or synthetic baby bunting? Is a solar charger necessary? Last week we worked on the diapers… bags of poopy and peepee diapers are going to be so fun to carry around.

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So. Much. Food.

6- Connecting.  Did you know there’s a Facebook group just for those who plan to thru hike the AT next year? And #appalachiantrail2017 is becoming more frequently used. We have been in touch with The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and spoken with other individuals and families who have thru hiked together. I’d love to find other families who have brought a baby on the entire AT, but no luck there. My hope is to be a resource for other families in the future who desire to take a baby to thru hike the trail.

If you’re reading this and have any tips or advice, please comment below or reach out to us! 🙂

AT Thru Hike Announcement!

Hello!

Ellie here. Pounding out 40 words per minute on mom’s laptop.

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Ellie at the summit of her first solo expedition. Or maybe it’s her first backpacking trip with Ma and Pa.

For real though. As the title of our first blog post reveals, we’re about to head out on an incredible journey next Spring. Our family of 3 will be the first family to take baby on the entire Appalachian Trail- making Appalachian Trail history. We’ve been dreaming about this trip for almost 10 years. We’ve spent the last 5 months planning and preparing for this
adventure, and will continue to do so for the next 5 months until we step foot onto the trail.

In the mean time, we have some other big news. We’re moving from the beautiful state of South Carolina and going back to our roots in Roanoke, Virginia. That’s right- coming back to family dinners and cousin sleepovers! Our home in Greenville, SC is currently under contract and if all goes as planned, we’ll close on the house mid November. We’re giving the farm a break. (don’t worry, it’ll probably come back someday). It’s a bitter sweet time as we

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Our sweet home in Greenville, SC for the last 20 months.

leave our dear community who have become like family, leave our college town, leave a beautiful area, leave our enjoyable jobs as outdoor guides, leave the place we raised a foster child for a year, and leave the home our daughter was born in- literally. It might sound like life is simply too perfect to move! While life is so sweet here, we’re looking forward to getting back home. Roanoke is a pretty awesome place- especially for adventurers like us.

This transition time of moving from one state to another and leaving one job to find the next has given us the perfect opportunity to fulfill our dream of thru-hiking the AT. And even better, we’re getting to take our 12 month old daughter with us.

Let the adventure begin!