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!!

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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