Front Royal through Harpers Ferry and onto the official halfway point!

Oh my goodness! We have made it to the halfway point!! I am overwhelmed with pride and excitement for my family. It’s amazing what we have already accomplished and set out to do. They also amazed me by completing the half-gallon ice cream challenge at the halfway mark. (This made me sick in 1999 so I was hesitant but they seemed to take down all the ice cream -a half gallon per person- with no problem😄)

I will update their funding goals at our next day off. Their goal was at minimum $2000 for the 2000 miles they hike for each of their charities. I know they are close to 1/2 way with these goals as well. You can continue to donate on our support page.

From Front Royal,VA to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia we received blood test results that one of us had contracted Lymes disease. Still motivated to move forward, we called in plan B. Our van was nearby with family so we were able to use it and slackpack for a few days. This gave us the opportunity to keep moving forward, make miles, and not have the weight of our packs. We have tended not to slackpack as we prefer to have our large packs and gear giving us the flexibility they provide with stopping anywhere we decide and having all we need on our backs. However, we also realized the benefits of this way of hiking the trail. Each hiker hikes their own hike, and we have found that there are now many different ways to thru-hike. (Especially since my ’99 thru-hike when we didn’t even have cell phones and I hand wrote and copied letters to all those who supported me. Wow. How much things have changed!). We were excited to get our packs back on in Harpers Ferry and so grateful to those who have helped us move the van so we can continue to complete all the miles. As an update we are now clear of lymes, the antibiotic worked and we continue hiking north taking all preventative measures we can.

After the miles of Virginia, we were excited to pass through West Virginia, Maryland, and into Pennsylvania all within 4 days! With good health and food in our bellies we upped the pace and now average 15-20 miles per day.

Yes that’s me, Sunshine, 20 years ago. The Appalachian Trail Conference has all the past thru-hikers on file! The girls said “wow mom you look so young” 😉. Maybe the girls will go back and see their photo in 20 years too!

All of us loved visiting the tribute garden at the ATC. So great to see our brick honoring my brother and seeing that he continues to motivate and inspire us all. “Hike on Family”

Slackpacking also provides us the opportunity to challenge ourselves with other obstacles and games. The girls had a great time leading each other on blind trust walks.

Crossing the bridge over the Potomac River out of West Virginia and into Maryland!!!

This is the first shelter we actually stayed in. There was a second floor and not a single hiker there! We decided to stay for the night and were so happy to be joined by another thru-hiker. The girls love the social aspect of the trail and had a great time visiting and making a new friend.

Crossing another state line!!! The Mason /Dixon line (Maryland Pennsylvania state line, named after the survey team) is so powerful and represents such an important time in our nations history. Walking this part of the trail we encouraged the girls to look, listen and hike through the lives of those who were trying to free themselves from slavery or escape their situation in the woods where we were now traveling. You could almost hear the stories of the past whispering to us on the trails crossing through the area. The girls enjoyed sharing stories from books they have read and lessons from classes as well.

Can you believe another play ground right on the trail. Just meant to be. The girls had to throw down their packs and run to play. Such a welcome sight and a nice break to play.

We continue to walk through history! What an amazing, educational, and eye opening experience for all of us. This is the original Washington Monument (now under construction). It was well documented with facts of Washington’s life every 10ft up the approach trail to the monument. We have been hiking through numerous battlefields and walked through the history of the civil war! Now we continue north for more Revolutionary War history.

Heading north happy, healthy, and motivated!

Author: Jamie “Sunshine”

To awaken to a beautiful dream one day become reality is the day millions of us wait and hope for. Setting goals and pushing ourselves to the limit, we have all challenged ourselves and our systems of life to see our goals in action. In March of 2019, waking a long envisioned dream, our family of 6 will set out on the 2000+ mile Appalachian Trail (AT). The trail covers 14 states and will take 6 months to complete. This dream began over 20 years ago, in 1999 when I set up the Awaking Dreams Fund with the National Brain Injury Association in my brother, Kyle’s name. I raised over $10,000 and set out and completed a thru-hike of the AT. Five years after that my husband, sister and I set out on a thru-paddle of the Connecticut River and raised money for Casa Colinas, a rehabilitation hospital that facilitated outdoor adventures for their patients. My brother, Kyle fought his battle for 20 years and passed away in February of 2017. We will continue to hike in his honor and his name attempting to complete the trail on his birthday. However, this adventure will be of a different caliber, as Chris and I will set out with our four daughters ages 5, 7, 10 &12. I have envisioned this hike since my thru-hike in 1999 when I traveled with a father and his two sons for a few days. The boys were ages 9 & 11. They were adventurous, excited, connected to nature and so curious and educated about the natural world around us. I have long hoped for such an amazing experience for my girls. We have done a great deal of planning, preparing, and talking . . Now is the Time!

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