Springer Mountain to Neels Gap – Blood Mountain Cabins

Here we are three days in… The girls have made it 31+ miles not including all the side trips to water, camping sites, the water falls, and amazing views. The rocks and roots of Georgia are well ingrained in my memory from 20 years ago and are felt in all of our feet. We had a great start in the rain and a second very rainy day. Yesterday we had a beautiful sunny day and made it more than 14 miles! They did have the motivation of a dry cabin to sleep in😊. Among the girls favorite has been stream and creek crossings, meeting other thru-hikers, and hiking on the rocks!

Everyone has decided on their trail names… We have Papa Bear, Sunshine, Horse Power, The Sparkle Machine, Wild Jay, and Baby Bunny. They are in great spirits and continue to impress me with their stamina, determination, and excitement to continue on. We say we are slow and steady. We take many breaks and continue to rotate around packs and gears to make it work best for all. We are a team and continue to help out the weakest link. One of us has been under the weather but is starting to be more herself again and looks forward to the days to come. We had our first birthday celebration and a box of Girl Scout cookies even made it to the trail!

We made it up and over Blood Mountain, which The girls renamed dead man’s hill!

We feel so fortunate to be out in nature and on this amazing adventure and have the support of so many family and friends. The girls continue to keep the organizations they are sponsoring as a motivation as they know they are making a difference one step at a time. With much gratitude to all those who follow and continue to support us!!

Amicalola Falls State Park

The beginning! It’s finally here… After years of envisioning and months and months of planning we are ready to begin our adventure on the Appalachian Trail. We arrived at Amicalola Falls State Park late last night and spent today finalizing our packs, dropping off of our car and preparing to start hiking in the morning. Today we registered with the rangers and are now official thru- hikers. We were given some basic trail notes and a leave no trace class (ask the girls to teach you the visual top seven principles of leave no trace) and are all set to go. The girls are feeling “nervous, scared and excited”. More posts will follow but I wanted to give you some background on the previous months of planning and preparing.

-Awaking Dreams has raised $873 for the Redwood Empire Foodbank, $803 for CARMA, $408 for the B-Rad foundation, $293 for the Sonoma wildlife rescue, $220 for the Appalachian wildlife refuge, and collected over 365 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls!

– All girls got haircuts and three donated at least 10 inches to “Locks of Love”

-32 mail drops have been packed organized and ready to be mailed with food, meals, academic materials, and all the necessities We spent seven months dehydrating fruit, beans, veggies, and putting together meals. Thank you to local farmers for sharing their extra produce Thank you to my sister for helping pack all the boxes and all the family members for keeping them together and mailing them! Yes it definitely takes a village😊

– We drove all the way across the country in three days stopping in LA to drop off a dog; Petroglyph national monument where we got to see many bunnies!; Cadillac Ranch in Texas with all the old Cadillacs sticking out of the ground; and generally made great use of our pop top 2003 eurovan camper “dragonfly”.

I can’t believe this day is finally here! We will be trying to post at least once a week in the coming months….

The Dream

Awaking Dreams

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, we 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 close to $30,000 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!

There are three main goals of our adventure on the AT. They are Education, Service, and Experience.

Education:  After I hiked the AT, I went on to work with students participating in wilderness character education.  I also received my teaching credential and wrote my master’s thesis on the importance and need for more wilderness education that could easily incorporate educational standards and core concepts.  The girls’ education will continue through their currents school as an independent study program. There will be unmatched teachable moments and educational wonders around each turn. I will detail the amazement and educational inspiration found on some of our training hikes in a blog.

Service:  Learning that the world is so much bigger than you think as you step one foot in front of the other to the next state line; yet at the same time small enough that each one of us CAN make a difference; is part of the educational experience found on the AT.  On the trail you learn so much about the importance of human connection and how the world can take care of you when least expect it (“Trail Angles” are part of the AT). As part of this lesson we will use service as a motivation and means to show how we can make a difference all while hiking the trail. (More details below)

ExperienceMy 1999 thru-hike was adventurous, life-impacting and one of the greatest mental and physical challenges of my life. I learned many life lessons and spent time sharing these with schools and community groups after my hike in 1999. One of the most important lesson was to “Put Time In.” Hiking the trail is not taking time off but “putting time in.”  I cannot imagine a way to be more present or connected with my family. I also know we will find a greater connection to our earth than we could through any other experience.

We look forward to connecting with you, reaching our goals and making a difference! To help us awaken this goal send donations to “Awaking Dreams” PO Box 735, Sebastopol, CA 95473.  See the back of this page for more details.

With gratitude for your support,

Jamie, Chris, Maya, Harper, Josie, and Sabina Malone

Service: (cont.)

I have long hoped to start a non-profit that emphasizes the importance of and opens opportunities to the outdoors for those at-risk, in need, and facing terminal or life altering illnesses (such as my brother’s). I encountered a non-profit that was started in memory of a loved one, with a mission that correlates with my goal, so Chris and I will hike in support of the B-Rad foundation. I honor their mission of health, adventure, and stewardship.  Our family hopes to work with them in the future and continue to build the Awaking Dreams mission. B-Rad is also an organization that our family will continue to be part of through their stewardship initiatives when we return from the trail.

Alongside my interests and passions, Maya, Harper, Josie, and Sabina each chose a charity that they are passionate about to support for their thru-hike.  Sabina chose food and will support the local foodbank- The Redwood Empire Foodbank.  Food plays a vital element on the trail, which will be so apparent to Sabina as she hikes and bring a connection to the foodbank fundraiser. –  Josie chose to collect 2000 pairs of shoes for “Soles for Souls,” as she knows the importance shoes have in her life, and will especially have when she is hiking. Harper chose to focus on wildlife and its correlation to the health of our planet.  Her goal is to raise $2000 to divide between the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue and The Appalachian Wildlife Rescue, located in the Appalachian Mountains.  Maya’s goal is to raise $2000 for CARMA, an organization that rehabilitates and rehomes thoroughbred horses off the race track.  Horses are Maya’s passion; this is an organization that she will be able to visit and become involved with, as it is located on a track that she has frequented.

How fortunate we are when we have the food we need, shoes on our feet, a healthy environment, and healthy animals that support our passions and lifestyles.

Now comes the time where you can help awaken lives and dreams. To directly support any of the groups we are walking for, you can write a check made out to the organization with “Awaking Dreams” in the memo.  To support hike logistics or a specific need we have you can write a check to Jamie Malone “Awaking Dreams” and note specifically want you would like your donation to sponsor in the memo.  Or you can just send a check to Jamie Malone “Awaking Dreams” and we will divide it between all of our efforts. Please send all donations to Jamie Malone “Awaking Dreams” PO Box 735, Sebastopol, CA 95473.  You can also contact me at Sunshine.awaking.dreams@gmail.com.  Our blog “awaking-dreams.com” will be launched soon and we hope you will visit it as we embark on this amazing journey.

We need your help to accomplish the goal at hand and to show our girls that one person can make a difference! Please help us reach these goals.