Holt’s House Library

So you just heard about my hike…  Thanks for stopping by.   Please read my past posts, check out my progress and come back often to see how I’m doing.

Are you ready to flood Holt’s House of Hope with donations, I am.  Here is the link to donate directly to the library.


Scroll down and find the Appalachian Trail logo and my little shout out and select the yellow donate button.  Then follow the process – select the donation type, enter payment info and you are all set.

Chris and Abby will be able to track donations so I can give you updates on how close we are to our goal of raising $2,189.00

I am so excited to use my hike to provide for their needs and blessed you would consider helping me do this.


Holt's House Donation Button

An official Zero

Everybody needs an off day sometimes!!

Yesterday I was supposed to leave and hike some more but I decided I needed a FULL day of rest. So I stayed one extra night in Hot Springs and am headed back on trail today. It’s been an amazing time here and this is such a fun little town! I’ve eaten at every restaurant in town and they are all spectacular. They next few stops in my plan are next Thursday for a night with Mr. Smith and the Thursday after that I get to see my family again after a month on trail! I’m really excited about these next two weeks I’m ready for lots of long days and lots of growth! The trail has become routine now and I’m excited everyday about the new things I’ll learn or understand everyday.

Updates since Sunday

Sunday Funday! On what should be a day of rest day we (Mush, Gandalf, Mumbles, Toasty Toes and Myself) did 20! Putting the smokies behind us and moving on towards happier trails with less ice! An 18.4 mile average through the smokies feels really good 🙂

Probably going to take it easy for a bit to make sure I don’t go too crazy. I definitely have been taking my time though. I spend almost no time in the shelters except to eat lunch and dinner and sleep. Other than that I try to stay out in the wilderness and try to soak up as much of this experience as I can.

On Monday we set off with big plans and that all changed when we spent wayyy too long at a hiker hostel for our resupply. It was fun to meet new people and just relax. For a bit. We stopped at the first shelter after the smokies for a 10.5 mile day.Planning for 23 tomorrow then a short walk into Hot Springs for a Nero and then back on trail on Thursday Morning.

Tuesday was a long 23 mile day with some snow at the end. We did Max Patch which is a super cool Bald on the trail and then took our time. I’ve been hiking with some really awesome people and I’m feeling much more comfortable on trail in this new life than I was early on.

Wednesday we walked 3 miles and were in hot springs. We’ve been her for a day now and it’s been amazing. The diner in hot springs specializes in hiker sized meals and I have been there twice and once to the local tavern for a huge burger. Showers are amazing and so are the people we are hanging out with at the hostel. The WiFi has been basically non existent but it’s been ok because I have such great company I don’t ever need my phone. I’m taking a bit of time today to myself so that I can decompress a bit. Sitting in the library using a computer is nice but it feels weird to not be on trail. Our group is waiting for a buddy to get his new shoes in the mail and if they come in today we may leave depending on the time but I’m kinda excited to maybe just take a full zero and maybe hit the actual hot springs with some friends.

You learn out here real quick that plans are never set in stone and them at you should always be ready to adapt!

Snow days

Sorry. I meant ice, not snow.

Saturday morning I woke up for no reason at about 3:30 and a buddy that I have been hiking with was also up. We decided that it was only 4.5 to Clingman’s Dome. So we quietly packed up and hiked up to the highest point on the AT for sunrise.

After that there was too much daylight to just do another 12 miles so we decided to do another 18.5 to the shelter past the one we were going to stay in originally. On the way down it was absolutely horrible. I kid you not (see pictures) it was like hiking in a frozen creek bed. There was no grip at all. So I basically slid and fell 7 miles down a mountain. If it sounds fun I can assure you that it wasn’t! Haha. In between the Dome and the shelter is Newfound Gap. This is one of the most popular spots in the park as it services some impressive views by day hike and also is the shuttle point to and from Gatlinburg for anyone on trail.

At newfound gap, my other buddy and I were the incredibly grateful recipients of some trail magic. A college guy from University of Cincinnati that completed the trail last year had decided to drive down for the day to do some trail magic. It was an amazing first trail magic experience. He brought a ton of food and we ended up taking all of it after talking for about 30 minutes. He was heading back to school and didn’t want all the leftovers. So my friend and I carried out a bag of chips, some apples, some cookies, granola, cuties, and doughnuts. I can’t even explain how amazing fresh fruit tasted.

After Newfound Gap I took my time and headed the next 10 miles to the shelter for the night.

We only have 24 miles left in the smokies and some of us are very tempted to knock it out tomorrow. Either way I’ll be in store for a great zero in Hot Springs, NC on Wednesday!!

I also added a picture of the sunset from my night hike.

Days 14, 15, and 16

After zeroing in Andrews, NC I made it to the Fontana village on Tuesday night and stayed there all day on Wednesday to try to deal with some stuff that has been going on with my car. Long story!

Thursday morning was slow and I didn’t get into trail till late but was still able to do 13.2 miles. The climb into the smokies was rewarded with the amazing views of the lake and dam as well as the amazing Smokey mountains in the opposite direction. The smokies had about a foot of snow this past week so it’s very slippery on trail as everything is melting and creating massive mud pits! Keep running into the same people but it never gets old and there’s always something new to talk about or a new thing to learn about each hiker!

Week 1 is in the books

Well this past week has been a roller coaster! Sorry that I haven’t updated this as often as I should! It’s been an amazing week with some awesome views but also some very wet days! For three days after dad left I walked with a pair of brothers, Gandalf and Mush, and their dog, Zara. They were amazing guys and it was such fun getting to camp with them for 3 days. After that was Tuesday which was a total wash, it rained so hard and because of that I decided to only walk about 6 miles to the Top of Ga Hostel. From there I went into Hiawassee and ate a huge meal at a Mexican restaurant and then resupplied some of my food at the Ingles in town. The rest of the week has been hard but fun!

More about that soon!!

I’ve been walking with a group of guys and they have been great. It’s definitely been fun meeting all different types of people from different backgrounds and different views on life. The coolest thing though is how all of these different people are on the same journey. The trail makes us a family and I love that. I’ve learned a lot over the past week and a half and I can’t imagine how much more I’ll learn and experience as I keep going.

Donation Link Is Now Live!!

Thanks to Abby Tanton for getting the donation site ready for us to raise money for Holt’s House of Hope Learning Library.  Here it is:

Are you ready to flood Holt’s House of Hope with donations, I am.  Here is the link to donate directly to the Learning Library.  http://holtshouseofhope.com/one-time/

Select the Learning Center from the list – I provided a screen shot below.

Chris and Abby will be able to track donations so I can give you updates on how close we are to our goal of raising $2,189.00

I am so excited to use my hike to provide for their needs and blessed you will considering helping me do this.

Holt's House of Hope

Holts House of Hope

Holt’s House of Hope is a Christian ministry in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic that provides refuge, restoration and hope to young men in the local community. Holt’s House of Hope emphasizes relational discipleship, education and character development in their programming, and meets with boys at least 3 times a week.

One of their current projects is developing a learning center that would provide access to learning materials, books, technology resources, language learning software, and other opportunities that do not currently exist in this area. Needs in this area include adding hopefully 2 laptops to the learning center (approx. $400 each), purchasing books from their Amazon wish list (ranging from approx. $5 to $20 each), as well as Rosetta Stone language software (approx $150).

My hope is that I can raise money to fund their Library by bringing attention to my current Appalachian Trail hike.  I want to raise $2,189 dollars for this incredible ministry.  That’s $1.00 for every mile I will walk.  I have been personally impacted by this ministry and I believe completely in the vision and the direction of the 2 people on the ground in the Dominican. Chris and his wife Abby have been hands on with this ministry for almost 2 years now. I hope that we can help them facilitate life change in the boys that they minister to by providing them with access to these resources.

I am working on a way to donate that will specifically direct giving only to the their library needs.  Please click on my Holt’s House Library page to see more information.

Day 2: Have you seen a big guy moving slow?

Today was an early start. We packed up at 7:30 and were on trail by 8:30. Our goal was to get to Gooch Mountain Shelter and see how we felt from there. It was a pretty rough climb for a bit but nothing too terrible. We stopped for lunch on top of a mountain and it got WINDY!!! We were very exposed but the ramen was delicious. Made it into Gooch Mountain Shelter around 2 and decided it was worth it just to stay the night. Met a bunch of new people, and hung out till the temperature started to drop and then everyone kinda silently decided it was bed time. Of course I’m a night owl and couldn’t fall asleep so I listened to some music and wrote this post. Tomorrow will be around a 10 mile day and it will also be the first day with no rain so I’m pretty excited about that.

Day 1: It was a wet one

Wednesday morning at around 6:30 am we left my house and drove up to Amicalola Falls Visitor Center to sign in with the ATC. After that we drove up to Springer Mountain and hiked .9miles up to the summit and the southern terminus of the trail. My dad and I set out from the parking lot after saying bye to mom and Gigee around 11:30. We had planned on hiking 15.1 miles to the Gooch Mountain Shelter but quickly re-evaluated that. From the moment we parked at Springer until around 3am on Thursday it was steadily raining. We got tired of it very quickly and were ready to dry off. Long story short, it rained, everything got wet, it rained more. We ended up calling it a day at Hawk Mountain Shelter for a total of 9.6 miles on the day including the initial hike up Springer. Met a few people. All conversation centering around what a terrible day it was on trail and how wet everything was. We crawled into sleeping bags and crashed for the night around 7. My body definitely isn’t used to this early to sleep early to rise thing so I could use some prayers for that! Other than wet and cold, I had an awesome Day 1. I am blessed just to be out here and even though I know it is going to be the hardest most demanding thing I’ve ever done, I couldn’t be more excited for Day 2. Even though it’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow as well. Oh well.