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!

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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