Blog posts come from our amazing group of long-distance and thru-hikers. They’re out on the trails during the 2019 hiking season (or heading out soon, and detailing their planning and preparation), sending back updates and sharing their adventures live as they happen. Follow along and cheer them on!
Hike Your Own Hike – No, Really
Cat shares her rough first few days on the AT, including wind, rain, Achilles issues – and some much-needed trail magic.
On The Road, Jack Kerouac, and Me
Dana is on her way to the Appalachian Trail – with a decidedly non-ultralight two dozen cookies from mom.
Day Negative to Day Zero
Cat has started her AT journey and is feeling good! But her lead-up wasn’t the experience she was hoping for.
JMT Day 6: The People I May Miss Most of All
We hear it over and over again – the hikes we take are made so much better by the people we meet along the way. In this last update, Deb wraps up her JMT section and has no regrets about her experiences.
JMT Day 5: It’s All About the Waterways
Now that Deb has changed her JMT plans (and adjusted to the altitude), she’s finding the time to relax and enjoy her hike so much more.
Winter Backpacking: Is It For Me?
Katie sets out for long weekend along the AT in Pennsylvania to experiment with winter backpacking. Some really cold nights have her rethinking her plan!
Day 4: No Disappointment In My Pack
“I had learned an important life lesson when I stood at the base of the JMT and decided to change my trip and hike out. I’d learned to be flexible, a hard thing for a planner like me. I knew, despite giving up my dream of hiking the whole JMT, the journey was far from over.”
JMT Day 3: Zero Day of Decision
Deb’s JMT hike takes a turn when she realizes she’s suffering from altitude sickness. Thanks to a friendly ranger, some good judgement, and a positive attitude, she manages to stay joyous rather than distressed.
Day 2: Over Guyot Pass
Deb ends day 2 on the John Muir Trail with some aches and pains but is learning more each day!
Days 34-36: Flipping Down South
“I have so much more to say about this time in the wilderness….My life was changed by this experience, has been changing for the past several years every time I’ve stepped foot on a trail.” Leah wraps up a month of section hiking the AT.
Part 3 of 3: Redemption Weekend
After a quickly abandoned backpacking trip earlier in the summer with her toddler, Momma in the Mountains is back for one last triumphant weekend hike.
JMT Day 2: Up Guyot Pass
Deb is feeling some of the effects of altitude but perseveres through creek crossing and steep climbs on the JMT.
Days 26-30 on the AT & LT: Experiencing Long Trail Culture
Leah continues north in Vermont, leaving the Appalachian Trail and experiencing the challenge and culture of the Long Trail.
JMT: Day 1 Ends
Deb wraps up a successful Day 1 in the Sierra by… being too tired to eat dinner. But at least she slept soundly!
Days 18-25: Officially Traveling the Long Trail
Leah is hitting some gorgeous fall weather (and a little rain, of course) as she continues her journey north in Vermont. In this update, she splits off from the AT and has officially entered the hard part of the Long Trail!
JMT: Day 1 Begins
Deb successfully completes the first day of her JMT journey!
CDT: After the Trail
What goes through your mind when your section hike doesn’t go as planned? For Yvette, she’s already planning her next attempt.
Days 13 – 17 on the AT: Into Vermont!
Leah’s northbound AT section hike has taken her into Vermont – which means she’s on the Long Trail, now, too!
JMT: Pre-Hike Travel and Acclimatization
Deb has arrived in the Sierra to start the JMT! Acclimatization is a big part of hikes in California – read about how Deb spent the last 2 days before her hike getting used to the altitude.
Day 5 on the CDT: Decision Day
“This mama could not have done this without the support and team work of her son! I would not change any moment we had along this small section of the CDT! Until next year CDT…..we will be back.”
Days 9-12 on the AT: Moving Through Massachusetts
Leah is cruising through Massachusetts! In this update, she visits the famous Upper Goose Pond Shelter, passes through Dalton, and has Mt. Greylock in her sights.
Day 4 on the CDT: Regrouped and Ready
On Day 4, Yvette gets a trail name – and also has to make a quick campsite decision while dealing with a pack of coyotes!
Week 25 on the AT: I’m Finished!
“I am signing off as “Drop Sticks” and reentering the real world. Thank you for following my journey. My blog posts were long but they were the truth. The things I wanted to remember, the emotions I felt. Maybe you’ll see me in my white shirt doing trail magic in the VA/MD area. But first there’s cake.”
Day 3 on the CDT: Broken in Hachita
Yvette is having a tough time on the CDT! A break has her re-thinking her ability to finish her section, but her son is there for her when she needs him.
Days 7 & 8: A Zero Day and Reflections on Being Wild
“Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.” Leah reflects on what it means to her to spend time in the woods, while taking a zero day in Massachusetts.
Day 2 on the CDT: Rain and Skeeters
Yvette experiences some crazy weather on the CDT – but keeps her good humor and attitude.
Days 5 & 6 on the AT: Onto Massachusetts
“There are no strangers out here. Hikers support each other and help each other out, give advice about water, aches and pains, best places to eat in towns, and who to call for a shuttle. This is home. We’re all at home.” Leah is loving her New England AT section!
Day 1 on the CDT: Let’s Get This Trail On
Yvette and her adult son are off on the first day of the CDT section hike in New Mexico – and they’ve already managed 12 miles!
Days 3-4 on the AT: Where Are All the Ladies?
Leah is enjoying a beautiful section of the AT through Connecticut. The terrain is like a roller coaster but what’s really on her mind is, where are all the ladies?
What We Did Instead (Part 2 of 3)
In Part 1, Momma in the Mountains shared why she and her toddler bailed on their planned backpacking trip. Now in Part 2 she shares how she attempted to salvage the trip!
Weeks 23-24 on the AT: Gorham, NH to Caratunk, ME
“For many of my companions, they can’t wait for the trail to end. They are ready. They want to get back to their prior life, where there is comfort, showers, and stability. But for me and others…we don’t want it to end.”
Days 1 & 2 on the AT
Leah is off again! This time it’s on a long section of the AT, starting in Pawling, NY and heading North.
Hitting the CDT
Yvette’s start date for her CDT section hike is fast approaching! She’s planning 140 miles with her adult son, and despite being not an “emotional person”, she’s feeling a lot of feelings.
Pre Trail Jitters & All The Thoughts Keeping Me Up At Night
“Ladies, we need to support each other, to keep lifting one another up, and empowering each other to chase our dreams. Women truly need other women speaking positive messages into their lives, like fire lifting a hot air balloon off the ground, enabling it to fly.”
Weeks 21-22 on the AT: Hanover to Gorham, NH (and a food update!)
Patrice (and her inflatable unicorn) are flying through the Whites. Although she admits the climbs and descents are tough and slow, she’s making smart use of work-for-stay at the huts (and their snacks!).
The Final Leg
The end of summer is always bittersweet, but especially for Katie. It’s back-to-school time for her, but she managed to complete 50 days of hiking and almost 700 miles of the AT.
West Highland Way Days 6-7: Kingshouse to Fort William
Leah wraps up her weeklong hike on the West Highland Way in Scotland with more charming towns, unpredictable weather, and gorgeous mountain scenery.
Days 137-154: Tackling the Whites and Maine
In this update from the AT, Amy tackles the infamous White Mountains and heads into Maine. The terrain is brutal but she can hear Katahdin calling her name.
Week 20 on the AT: Manchester, VT to Hanover, NH
Patrice is loving New England trail life! In this update, she stays at the Yellow Deli hostel, encounters loads of trail magic and farms stands, and loves on Vermont and New Hampshire (so far).
West Highland Way: Days 4-5, Inverarnan to Glencoe
Leah takes us on a journey through the Scottish highlands with her the second installment of her West Highland Way trail journal.
Back on Trail and Feeling Bluesy
Katie has had an amazing summer of section-hiking the AT. With this latest chunk, she adds Vermont to the other states she’s completed.
AT southbounder Z has left the trail. Find out about the awful night that caused her to leave and what’s going on in her head. Bonus – it includes audio!
West Highland Way Days 1-3: Milngavie to Inverarnan
Despite some jet lag, Leah is off to a gorgeous and satisfying start on the West Highland Way in Scotland! Read the first three days of her trail journal here.
Days 113-136 on the AT: CT, MA, and into NH
AT thru-hiker Amy hikes in 5 states in only about 3 weeks in this trail update! The heat and rain are wearing her down, but she’s into the White Mountains and feels her Katahdin goal inching closer.
101 Miles on the AT: Part 2
Ann AKA Greeter Two has been chipping away at AT miles for several years now. After completing this Vermont section, she’s over 900! Read up on her muddy, steep, social, and satisfying experience.
Week 19 on the AT: Upper Goose Pond, MA to Manchester, VT
AT thru-hiker Patrice is now 3/4 of the way through her adventure. She’s entered Vermont, and while the weather is starting to cool off, she’s still loving trail life with her tramily.
Psyching Up for the JMT
Deb is prepping for her Northbound solo John Muir Trail thru-hike starting in a few short weeks! She’s conditioning, picking out her playlist, and working on facing her fears.
Fear! Fear Not!
Yvette’s section hike of the New Mexico part of the CDT is coming up fast. The self-proclaimed “overkill, Type A personality” is prepping and planning – and dealing with some fears.
Weeks 17-18: NY, CT, and MA
Patrice hikes through 3 states in this update. She’s dealing with bugs, bugs, and more bugs, plus heat and stomach issues, but she also experiences some glorious trail magic along the way.
Days 36 – 41 Southbound: On To Vermont!
Southbound LASHer Katie wraps up her 41-day section by crossing into Vermont, making new friends, and enjoying lots of trail magic.
Bailing on Plans A-Z (Part 1)
Momma in the Mountains had epic plans for a 6-day hike with her toddler and dog. It didn’t quite work out – read on to find out what went wrong and how she’s dealing.
Days 31-35 Southbound: Onward Through the Whites
Katie has been on trail just over a month now hiking Southbound. In her latest update, she breezes through the rest of the Whites (with the help of some trail magic) and wraps up New Hampshire!
Weeks 16 – 17 on the AT: New Jersey and New York
Jersey girl Patrice has hiked from Georgia to get home! While hiking through her home state was a little bittersweet, moving on to New York has renewed her love for the adventure of the trail.
Days 26 – 30 Southbound: New Hampshire and the Whites
Katie enters the notorious White Mountains of New Hampshire! She experiences it all – tough climbs, gorgeous views, and the “Dungeon” at Lake of the Clouds hut.
Days 100-110 on the AT: Working Her Way Up the Mid-Atlantic
Amy is zooming up the mid-Atlantic! She starts this post climbing Lehigh Gap at Day 100 and finishes ten days later on a beach in New York. Check in with how she’s doing!
Days 19 – 25 Southbound: On to New Hampshire
Katie wraps up the last few days of Maine, including the famed Mahoosuc Notch, the “hardest / most fun mile of the AT.” Not it’s on the New Hampshire!
Weeks 15-16 on the AT: Pennsylvania
Most AT thru-hikers get to Pennsylvania and get frustrated. Not Patrice! Despite the bugs, the heat, and big mile days, she’s loving PA life.
Down With the Hiker-archy!
Z has made it to Millinocket, Maine to start her SoBo hike, but she’s having some cultural struggles with life on the trail. She’s gotten stuck in a different kind of bubble, and she’s having trouble shaking it.
Days 14-18 Southbound: Caratunk to the Hiker Hut
Katie continues south through some of the most beautiful parts of Maine. In this update, she gets to spend 2 days solo, and the experiences she has are worth all the aches in her feet.
Back on Trail: Days 11-13 Southbound
SOBO AT hiker Katie shares some wisdom behind trying bigger miles, and why she doesn’t feel rested after a zero. No regrets!
Week 14 on the AT: Pine Grove Furnace, PA
AT thru-hiker Patrice has completed half the trail! In this update, she contemplates the simplicity of trail life and the fears (rational or otherwise) of hiking alone, and shares what her experience of visiting home felt like.
Days 80-97 on the AT: Front Royal to Port Clinton
Thru-hiker Amy is covering a LOT of ground – literally! In this update, she takes us from Shenandoah, through Harper’s Ferry, and into Pennsylvania. There are ups, downs, trail magic, rain, and a lot of feelings.
Shaw’s Hiker Hostel and a Zero
Katie takes a much-deserved Zero in Monson, Maine, after a week of hard SoBo hiking – and inspires some pancake envy.
Days 5-9 SoBo: The Hundred Mile Wilderness
SoBo Katie completes the 100 Mile Wilderness! Find out how she handled rain, mosquitos, tough terrain, and river fords.
Preparing Your Pet at Home for Your Adventure Away
Z is prepping for her rapidly approaching SoBo AT thru-hike start. The biggest thing to get settled: how to set up care for her beloved cat while she’s away.
Day 1: Katahdin or Bust
And she’s off! Katie begins her SOBO section hike strong, with a Katahdin summit and a few big days into the Hundred Mile Wilderness.
Week 13: Last of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland
AT thru-hiker Patrice is zooming up the East Coast! In this update, she finishes not one but three states, passes the unofficial halfway point, and talks ticks and town days.
Layouts and More Layouts
If you love food and gear layout photos, this piece from Momma in the Mountains is for you. It’s got it all – mom’s stuff, toddler’s stuff, AND dog’s stuff. Quite a Colorado adventure coming up!
It’s Not You, It’s the Trail: A Breakup Story
This one from soon-to-be SOBO AT thru-hiker Z is is not just text, but audio! Her partner broke up with her right before they start separate thru-hikes. She’s using her words – and her voice – to share how that feels, and it’s honest and beautiful.
Day Zero: Kindergarten
Katie is feeling the nerves on the night before her AT LASH. And she’s starting in one heck of a place… Mt. Katahdin! Take a peek at what the day before a SOBO start looks like.
Week 12: Shenandoah
Patrice has completed Shenandoah National Park! She visited as a young girl and always dreamed of being a thru-hiker through this section. Read all about her experiences!
Week 12: Waynesboro, VA (pre-Shenandoah)
“What is life! This gets to be my daily chore! I get to do this every night. What a simple task. How cool is it that my nightly routine is getting water?! How could I be so lucky!” Patrice is loving AT trail life in VA.
Days 63-79 on the AT: Daleville Through Shenandoah
AT thru-hiker Amy is more than a third of the way through and has finished Shenandoah! She’s living out some wise words she heard: “It never gets easier, you just do more miles.” Check in to see how she’s dealing with rain, ticks, and big mile days.
One Month Trailaversary: Lessons Learned
2019 AT flip-flop thru-hiker Mary is one month and 300 miles in! Despite a strained ankle and bronchitis, she has an amazing attitude and has conquered “Rocksylvania”.
Why I Won’t Be Asking or Answering the “Backpacker 4”
Meet our new AT thru-hiker blogger “Z”! She’ll be hiking SoBo, and has an interesting idea about the conversations she’ll have on the trail. Have you ever asked or answered her “Backpacker 4”?
Packing for a Toddler With Special Needs
Momma in the Mountains is getting closer to her 7-day backpacking trip with her toddler. In addition to her own needs, she has to think about her little guy – find out what she’s considering!
Week 11 on the AT: Buena Vista, VA
Patrice is 1/3 of the way through her AT thru-hike! Here she does a breakdown of her gear reviews so far, and some reflections on Tramily and challenges.
Weeks 9 and 10 on the AT: Catawba and Daleville, VA
Patrice is 700 miles in and loving Virginia. Here she shares great details about her hiking buddies, daily routine, the power of hiker hunger, and her nickname for day hikers.
2 States Down, 12 More to Go!
Katie finishes her section hike of the Appalachian Trail in New York. She learns some valuable bear lessons – by way of what not to do.
Days 44-62 on the AT: Damascus to McAfee Knob
This awesome recap from AT thru-hiker Amy covers 19 days of trail life – from Damascus all the way up to McAfee Knob. She covers lots of emotional ground as well, in the ups and downs of day-to-day trail life?
Week 8 on the AT: Pearisburg
Patrice has left Damascus to continue hiking north. She’s contemplating trail life, enjoying the lack of mirrors in her life, and excited about what Virginia has to offer!
Katie isn’t having the best time hiking the AT through New York. But that’s the reality of long-distance hiking, and she wants to share that experience. Can you relate?
10 Things I Learned in My First 10 Days on the AT
Laurie has started her flip-flop AT hike heading north from Harper’s Ferry! Here she shares what she’s learned so far.
Week 7 on the AT: Trail Days!
AT thru-hiker Patrice hits Virginia – just in time for Trail Days in Damascus!
Days 31-43 on the AT: Almost to Damascus!
Amy is cruising through Tennessee and just about to hit Virginia! In this update from the Appalachian Trail, she encounters trail magic and angels, lots of rain, and a 17-mile day.
Week 6 on the AT: Hampton, TN
“So this week there have been high highs and low lows. The mental aspect of hiking is kicking in.” AT thru-hiker Patrice is deep into Tennessee and has her sights set on Virginia!
Week 5 on the AT: Erwin, TN
Patrice sends this update from Erwin, TN, where she enjoyed a hiker festival and margaritas for her 26th birthday. Read about what she’s up to and leave her a happy birthday comment!
Days 22-30 on the AT: Smokies to Hot Springs
Amy is now 30 days into her thru-hike and done with the Smokies. In this update, she deals with a sprained ankle and (maybe) noro, but at least she gets in some good meals!
Miles and Miles of Trails
Momma in the Mountains is in the midst of planning her 6-day backpacking trip with her 2-year-old son and their dog. What could possibly go wrong?
Weeks 3-4 on the AT: Hot Springs, NC
Pat-Rice is through the Smokies! Despite the need for “five minute pity parties”, she’s feeling better after some time off in Hot Springs, and looking forward to Virginia.
Let’s Talk Ticks
Ticks are at the top of everyone’s mind as we head into the summer hiking season. Sable has some great basic tips here to help you deal with the creepy crawly threat.
My First Month on the Appalachian Trail
“Mentally, I’m as determined as ever. Physically, I feel the strongest I have in decades. Spiritually, my soul feels fulfilled. Regardless of my rough start, I’m going to keep on keepin’ on.” Amy may end up switching from a NoBo to a flip flop, but she’s definitely not giving up.
Week 2 on the AT: Franklin, NC
“Whenever I get in a bad mood, I just remind myself of the privilege to be hiking the AT….I treasure every step I take towards my next goal. ” Patrice is making progress on her thru-hike!
Packing My Fears Part 2: Clothing
Laurie does a fabulous breakdown of all the clothing and rain gear she’s bringing on her upcoming flip-flop thru-hike. Check out her list and let her know your thoughts in the comments!
The JMT Says Go North, Woman, Go North!
This post goes out to everyone who’s ever felt the sting of permit rejection. Deb takes her string of bad luck and turns it into an opportunity to face some fears on a northbound JMT hike!
Week 1 on the AT: Amicolola to Hiawassee
Pat-Rice Z started the AT on April 1st – find out how her first week went (including pizza and beer trail magic!)
Days 15-21 on the AT: NOC to Newfound Gap
Amy hits the Smokies but she’s having a tough time with mood and weather. Read what she’s up to and maybe leave her an encouraging comment!
107.9 Miles Hiked in 7 Days… Regrets?
Katie tackles the 108 mile section of the AT that goes through Shenandoah National Park! Does she have any regrets about how fast she went?
Packing My Fears Part 1: The Big Three
“Delving into a gear list reveals a lot about a person.” Laurie breaks down her Big 3 (backpack, tent, sleep system) and shares the fears and hopes that went into choosing each one.
Day 8 – 14 on the AT: Hiawassee to the NOC
AT thru-hiker Amy is picking up steam and settling into trail life! In this post, she hits North Carolina and 100 miles, and gets her trail name.