A year later and still so grateful

So grateful for the experience …

So grateful for the lessons learned …

So grateful for the support …

So grateful for the charities supported …

So grateful for the time …

A year later we don’t forget how important each of you are to us and how your support made a difference! (Forgive the delayed or unsent cards for those addresses we are still finding. Know you are appreciated!). This truly was a community effort and we couldn’t have made it without you!

Congratulations to all of us! Our service efforts raised over $12,000 for six different charities! CARMA, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Soles for Souls, B-Rad, Sonoma Wildlife Rescue, and Appalachian Wildlife Refuge

Donation to CARMA
Truck load of shoes headed to Soles for Souls
Mountain lion at the Sonoma Wildlife Rescue
Donation at the Redwood Empire Food Bank

The girls are all doing great and have for the most part adapted back to the busy hussle and bustle of life so common in our culture andwith kids today. The Sparkle Machine will be competing in a figure skating competition, Horsepower made it to Nationals In Kentucky for Pony Club and will be competing there in July, Wild Jay is focusing on art, and Sister Bunny is focused on her bunny (of course) and time at home. They are all on softball teams starting this month and have their AT trail chants well prepared😉. With all they do, they continue to love evening walks, connecting to nature, working on challenges together, and reliving memories and experiences of the AT (one of our favorite gifts is a photo frame that sits in our living room and rotates through photos of our adventure). Our big project for the year is building bog boards and an AT style lean-to in the backyard.

Many people talk about the struggles of returning after such an adventure and being so connected to the natural world, living so simply, having one common goal each day for the whole family, and being physically and emotionally fit. We had read up on it, I had done it before, we prepared and were excited, but … it still hasn’t been easy. We tend to tell people how hard and intense the whole experience was, which may be the result of suppressing this on the trail during the daily excitement and motivation to reach our goal. We are working our ways back into our communities. Coming back, it is so good and important to be connected to our communities, school, friends, and activities. My reality today of driving 5 hours to and from schools and activities and working 2 jobs to make ends meet and rarely finding time to exercise, get out in nature and or reflect … is the reality of so many moms. It makes me realize even more how important and how fortunate we were to be able to make such an amazing adventure happen. I attribute this to prioritizing, years of planning and following your dreams! May we all have or make the opportunity to go out and make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

On the trail we checked in at mile markers and month markers with lessons learned. At one point Horsepower said she realized we have all the time we need. At the time I thought it was an ironic statement as we struggled to make the miles, write in our journals and complete the activities we wanted … They now apply to today … Time to re-prioritize and revisit the lessons learned. We learned so much about strength and power when distractions are removed, the unity of family with a common goal, the rewards, challenges and hardships of living life to the fullest and gained unmatched life experiences of an incredible adventure. On the trail life is intentional, simplified, connected and intense.

To answer the questions we hear daily: Will I do it again? … not with the whole family and not for maybe 20 years, but there are many adventures to come … Will there be a book? … We are still working on compiling our journals and photos and still realizing and soaking in the lessons learned. Maybe still to come so we will keep you updated. … What’s next? … I’m working on planning a girls backpacking trip this summer. I will take on Earth Camp and am so excited to run wild with kids in nature.

We celebrated the one year mark of our start up Spring Mountain at Amicalola Falls with journals and photos ready to work into books and quick oats and ramen (which the girls were not excited to see the return of). We will take off for a 4 day backpack trip for spring break in 2 weeks and can’t wait to be on the trail. We wish everyone experiences and adventures in nature and time to follow and awaken your dreams!

The main goals we set out to accomplish were met and surpassed! SERVICE -EDUCATION -EXPERIENCE- A final gratitude to you all. We hope we inspired you and many others to go out and make a difference in your life and others!

Where are the Malone’s now

Wow. Have we really been home for 4 weeks!!

We will be speaking at The Community Church in Sebastopol on Friday, September 27 from 6 to 7 PM. We hope to see you there!

It was a quick re-integration back to school and back to work. And now the honeymoon period is over and the reality of life off the trail is setting back in.

We have all had the much missed family dinners and gatherings which usually number 17 or more. How incredibly grateful and honored we are to have so many family and friends keeping our life back home afloat while we made a 20 year goal and dream come true!

Wild Jay misses the daily excitement of rock scrambles, swimming in wild “untouched” lakes and ponds and pushing herself to her limits. She is riding horses, swimming at the local pool, and enjoying reconnecting with friends at school.

Horsepower just got back from a week long camping trip in Lassen National Park. She couldn’t be in a more perfect program and school to come back to. Of course, horses continue to be her passion. She’s working on training a new horse that she is leasing with her aunt, and qualified for Quiz Nationals, that will be in Kentucky later this year. She is busy as she is also running cross country and taking art classes. Horsepower states she misses everything on the trail and “Life on the trail”.

The Sparkle Machine has begun six grade and is also joining the Expeditionary Learning Program. She has been enjoying taking part in the cross country team, where she ran 2 1/2 miles 3x faster than we ever hiked on the trail. She misses the rock scrambles, being out in nature and realizing how fortunate and grateful we are every day to have what we have.

Sister Bunny is excited to be back home with family and friends. She misses all the trees, obstacle courses and fun places to hide her bunny. At the end of the trail she said she was not going to hike again, however she has already asked to put the tent up in the backyard and is excited too hit the trail for a trail run.

Sunshine has started teaching high school and is still lifeguarding at the local pool. I miss the fresh air and simplicity of life in the woods (simply having what you have and being able to make due in all situations).

Papa Bear misses the community of the trail, the open beautiful spaces, the constant physical activity, the adventure that came with every day and watching our girls charging hard and putting every ounce of everything they had into accomplishing our common goal for every day.

Please join us next Friday night to hear more stories. You can still donate on the website to each of the girls charities and we will announce their totals on Friday. Thank you again for all of your support and donations! They truly made this amazing journey possible.

Sending so much gratitude and honor to all of you who helped make and watched this dream become reality. We truly hope you are able to do the same!!

Jamie Malone

“Sunshine”

We made it!!! Katahdin

Baxter peak on the top of Mount Kathadin is 5,267ft and is the tallest mountain around. A perfect finish line of the 2,192 mile Appalachian Trail. Can you believe we hiked that far… through 14 states!!! We were so glad we finally decided to return to complete the trail and make it to the summit. We left Boston at 3am, drove back to the base of the mountain and were so excited about the beautiful sunshine. We started hiking close to 10.

Knowing the weather changes rapidly our plan was to hike straight to the summit (no stopping and talking and no blueberry eating until the trip back down). Papa Bear and I looked at each other as we saw the fast moving cirrus clouds moving in about an hour up the trail. We pushed the girls to move faster and they flew to the summit. A few grey clouds and winds were all that came and we were blessed with the most beautiful clear day at the summit.

The rock scrambles to the ridge line were the girls favorite. They helped each other up and over, worked as a team and supported each other in the climb to our finish line.

The summit in view! After the rock scrambles we hit the ridge line and had a mile an a half walk through the rocks on the ridge up to the summit. (This made us realize that the ranger had helped us make the right and safer decision to turn around earlier in the week in the heavy rain with thunderstorms approaching. )

There were a couple other people at the summit who headed down soon after we arrived. The girls sang and enjoyed lunch for close to an hour, soaking in the views and their accomplishment, before we slowly headed down.

And … all the photos from over proud and amazed parents!!😊

I was not able to upload the video of them singing a gratitude to you all. So maybe you will catch up with us in California to hear them sing😊. (or maybe a partial song will upload on Instagram) The lyrics mean a lot to us but especially the chorus, “When the dreams you’re dreaming come to you and the work you put in is realized let yourself feel the pride, always stay humble and kind, hold the door say please say thank you, don’t steal don’t cheat and don’t lie, I know you’ve got mountains to climb! Always stay humble and kind

We are overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for all the support we received along the way. I often thought we would not make it to this day. It is the power of family and the strength, love, dedication and determination to making a small difference in this huge world we live in. We truly feel blessed. I will try to post a follow up within the next couple of weeks.

What’s next? Sunshine will go back to teaching and Papa Bear back to the winery, (as he figures out what is next) and the girls back to school. We will always be adventurers and will hold these memories and life lessons close to our hearts, always! It is so important to set these long term goals and dreams. Twenty years in the making. Wow how amazing to see them one day become reality. I know my brother is smiling down on us😊 as he set us into motion!!

Thunderstorms at Katahdin 😏

An update but hopefully not yet the end…

Here we are…. We made it to the base of the “Great Mountain”, revered and respected by the native Americans. What a sight. Everyone so excited to finish and family and friends made it all the way from California to meet us. We had pushed a number of days all near 20 miles to make our goal and schedule. We have been hiking for 164 days!  All so much to put together and process. We have awoken a dream set in motion 20 years ago! And so so so much more….

However as we know there are always the unknowns in all our planning and preparations. Of course the most powerful of those is the weather and natural forces of the Earth. The weather was predicted to rain with thunderstorms and high winds. We considered waiting, but the weather looked the same for the rest of the weekend, so we knew we didn’t have time on our side. We also started at Springer Mountain, Georgia in the rain so we found it fitting.

We started up Katahdin in the rain which varied between light rain and mass downpours. The trail was a river, but again we had experienced this for much of the trail, so no problem. The girls were in great spirits and climbing the rock scrambles and ready to move toward the summit, although they were starting to get a bit cold and were sopping wet. We made it above treeline and the winds were stronger. We were pulling ourselves up and over the slippery metal rungs (the girls favorite part) and trying to hide in between rocks to shelter as we waited for the next one in line. Still moving forward and thinking we should probably make a decision before the next 2 miles of all above treeline open exposure, we were greeted by a ranger. The rangers were in the process of 2 rescues, a dislocation and a group stuck out over night. The ranger knew the girls as they had completed their Junior Ranger packets with him the evening before. He was surprised at their determination and how far they had come up the mountain in the rains yet told us to turn around due to the forecast of predicted increasing high winds and thunderstorms.

We made it! We told the girls … as far as we can go. This would be our summit. They sang the songs they wanted to sing on the summit and were overwhelmed with tears and sad faces. We knew the options of returning the next day were the same. We came down, tried to celebrate and left the mountain with an overwhelming feeling of defeat. As if we were not complete. Continuing to check the weather throughout the days, there was not point to stay near the mountain for the week.

The let down, sad faces and tears have lead us to make the decision to try to return next week when the weather is suppose to be better. What an accomplishment the girls have made and we want them to see and feel that. So… the story will continue and we will head back to Katahdin when the weather is supposed to be better and attempt our summit again. Pray for good weather😊☀️

We are so incredibly grateful for all the donations and support that’re coming in! We could not have made this amazing adventure happen without you all. Thank you for being part of our journey. The girls keep asking if they have met their goals of $2000 for each of their organizations. This is part of their completion as well. I will try to find out during the next 2 days off and update them and you all. We are so proud and humbled by the whole experience!

I will be sending the back posts of the states that didn’t download this week and will update you on our return to California (sorry we will be late for the start of school😏). We will hope to greet you all in person to share our journey in September.

With so much gratitude

We will hike on….

Jamie and Malone Family

Maine!!!!

We made it to Maine! So tough that we made it to the state of our completion yet Sister Bunny read the sign of 282 miles still to go. A week into the state we were so fortunate to have the arrival of family visiting and hiking with us. So nice to share the journey and have help motivating us to keep moving forward.

What a beautiful state filled with ponds and above treeline climbs and views. Sandy beaches for lunch time breaks and blueberry picking on the summits of Mountains. We are finding some of the highlights of our trip as our bodies and minds are so ready to be done.

As the photos haven’t been uploading I just wanted to give one quick shout out of gratitude and excitement for all the support we have received along the way. We will soon head into the 100 mile wilderness and will summit Katahdin and complete our journey. We can’t believe the end is in sight. I look forward to sharing photos and better updates when we complete our hike. We have learned, gained, and accomplished so much and can’t wait to share it with you all!

New Hampshire and The White Mountains

Headed into the White Mountains. Big views big mountains and above tree line! The tough Mountains to come we’re a welcome sight and for the first time we were convinced we could make it.

Metal rungs and rock climbs became the terrain and the game of the Whites. The girls love them but many required lifting and pulling each other. A testament to us now working more as a team and needing to stick together throughout the tougher days.

Smarts Mountains Fire tower! Can you believe we meet A hiker from our home town in California on the top of the fire tower!! It really is a small world after all. And what an incredible difference one can make. The girls made a comment the other day that one of the best parts of the trail was raising money for their chosen nonprofits and how they really could make an impact by walking. Again thank you all for your support and donations. They mean so much to us and the world!

A quick stop at an awesome hostel filled our packs, got us showered and on our way. We would have loved to stay the night but are trying to keep with our schedule to the end! It’s great and a challenge that miles have become necessary to keep our schedule and make it back home with our goal completed.

Above tree line!

First shelter. Big miles in the whites meant that many days we hiked past dark. Being a group (6 people), we coordinated our schedule with the group coordinator before entering. It was a challenge to keep the 15 mile day average yet the girls did amazing!

Lonesome Pond Hut. The huts through the whites were fun to stop at. They welcome hikers with pastries and soup. We all enjoyed them and especially the soup on the rainy afternoons.

Franconian ridge. Wow amazing above tree line walk. One of the favorite of the trail for many of us. Sister bunny got way ahead and was told she was too young to be up there alone. She loved the attention and hiked strong!!

Summit of Mount Washington!!! What an amazing day. So clear and views for miles. We definitely felt on top of the world. The crowds were also there to welcome us. So grateful to family that met us, filled our bellies and have us filled with motivation and fun memories to keep our feet moving!!

Summit of Mount Washington the next day was windy and cold with zero visibility. Lucky to have family visiting, we started the decent at a bad weather trail to get below tree line.

Alpine meadows and bog boards

Moose! Yay. We saw our first moose in front of Full Goose Pond.

Though we exited the official AMC White territory there were still plenty of tough Mountains to come. Our bodies were exhausted from the big mile days and terrain of the Whites and we hit a slow down. The girls started to ask the terrain of each day and were very in tune to the elevation maps not necessarily dictating the terrain. Maine to come!!

Vermont -Ver(MUD) or Ver(BUG)

Again… sorry for the delayed posts. Between lack of service and phone issues I’m way behind but am so incredibly grateful to all of you for your continued support. I have 2 posts that have not uploaded but will make sure they get out as we get charged phones and more service. As we move forward we are on a mission to Maine! Making our miles and trying to stick with a schedule to get home in time for the beginning of school has become a focus.

Well we crossed into Vermont in the mud and the state line sign was in a puddle of mud, which is so fitting that it is known to thru-hikers as Ver(MUD).

We then hit the most miserable bug experiences we have ever encountered and the girls decided we should rename it to Ver(BUG). We did all get bug nets at the next town we hit.

The fire towers were the escape from the bugs. Such a welcome sight and then amazing views from the top!!

One of our favorite fire towers was Stratton Mountain Fire Tower. We met the caretakers who have been manning the fire tower since the 1960’s. They were there when I passed through in 1999! Thanks for being there and for all the great info!

Stratton pond

The beaver dams and ponds and changing landscapes were amazing and such a treat. With the changing environment also came new plants and animals. Our very own nature channel continues as we soak in this incredible earth we live on. The girls continue to talk about how they are so lucky to see so many of these things that they would not see if they had not hiked so far! We truly are blessed.

Through the mud, we also made it so some amazing waterfalls, vistas, and open mountain tops full of ferns, grasses and new wildflowers.

Thundering Falls

Harmon Hill was our favorite camping spot in Vermont. What an amazing sunset and great company of other thru-hikers.

Killington Peak provided an incredible rock scramble topped by a view that made Wild Jay say we made it to the top of the world! An awesome day!

We also had ladder climbs and challenges that the girls always enjoy.

Happy 4th of July and Happy Birthday “Sparkle”. We visited with family and made our own parade across the state line into New Hampshire!!!! We considered these short miles our 0 day to keep us moving northward (the road walks of Norwich,VT to Hanover,NH).

Thanks to family and the speed of slackpacking some of Vermont we were able to make some big mile days, stay on schedule and move into New Hampshire. Here we head to the big White Mountains of New Hampshire and then onto Maine!!!

Happy Trails