The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has asked Thru-Hikers to get off trail. So who would have thought my first blog post from trail would be the one of me getting off trail. No, this is not forever. I still plan to finish my AT thru-hike this year. Dug aka Erin, Ollie and I are devastated. But with everything going on with COVID-19, we feel that we would be socially irresponsible if we stayed on trail.

Here are the reasons:

  1. When we had our first resupply at Mountain Crossing we probably saw around 150 people.
  2. When hiking, some days we would see about 60 people.
  3. Almost every night, even when avoiding shelters, campsites have been full.
  4. Traveling from untouched mountain town to untouched mountain town would put those people at risk and stopping at towns in unavoidable.
  5. Campsites and sections of trail up north are already closing.
  6. Resupply is eventually going to be impossible.
  7. We want to set an example for other thru-hikers.
  8. We should be enjoying this trail, but have been nothing but upset about everything going on and whether we are doing the right thing.
  9. The trail will always be there.

Thanks to all those who have been supporting me for staying on trail. Many people have told me to continue on and push because I am in “isolation.” Yes, in theory I am the epitome of social distancing. But in reality I have been one of the people ignoring everything the CDC and WHO are recommending. I would love to stay on trail, but morally I feel that would not be okay. I hope my friends and family can support my choice. Keep your fingers crossed that things will die down soon and I can get myself back on trail ASAP.

Now that I have put a damper on things, here are some pictures of my first week on trail. As soon as I feel better about things, I will do a full write up because this truly has been an amazing week.

Lastly, I am going to talk about individuals that I have done multiple hikes with. These people are my biggest supporters next to my family when it comes to training for the AT and these poor people have probably listened to me drown on and on about my hike coming up. 

Brian: You and I hiked 3 of my original NH 4Ks together and a couple other smaller hikes! Thank you for always being up for hiking when I asked you. I can remember texting you “Hey, do you want to hike with me?” on numerous occasions and you always said yes! You don’t hike as much as me and my friends but man can you keep up and even go faster at times. I can’t wait until we can hike again. When I hit the AT in NY I hope maybe you can spare a day to see me!

Tiffany: you started my terrifying 25 journey with me! We did 3 of the trails together and had a blast. Remember when I completely smashed my Apple Watch  whoopsy! Happy Health reasons might have gotten in the way of our hiking but you have supported me in so many other ways on my journey!

Alyssa Mulno: You were one of my first friends that hiked NH 4Ks with me. You know what I was like before I was a hiker and how much I struggled. What a difference now. We did 7 of my original NH 4ks together. Thank you for helping me up those mountains in the early days of my hiking. We haven’t gotten to do many hikes recently, but as soon as you are all healed up I’m waiting for you to meet me along the AT.

Tyler: HA HA. Do I need to write anymore? Oh, how our friendship over the years has made me laugh. Thanks for always being up for doing crazy hikes with me. You and I did my first 11mile hike together. I can remember we were WRECKED after. You are the person that always creates havoc on my hikes. For some reason we always get lost or take way longer than expected. I am starting to see a trend here.

Erin: Okay we have only done one hike together but after reading my last blog post everyone can see why you are on this list. I can’t wait to see what the AT brings for us both. As I tell you almost every day, I am so excited!

Austin: As with a lot of my hiking friends, it seems we also have a weird way of meeting. Thanks to Neal at our gym for showing off how strong I am because he really helped create such an amazing friendship. You hiked 10 of my original NH 4Ks with me. You were also the first person I have ever had a successful backpacking trip with. Our Semi-Pemi was incredible and I couldn’t have imagined a better person to have hiked it with. 

Corey: Here is another friendship of mine that happened by chance. Remember the story of Erin and Ollie in my last blog post? Well Corey was the guy who was with Erin. Since that random meeting, You and I have been on so many hikes. At least 2 a month? Our day where we hiked the northern presi’s was incredible and I couldn’t imagine another person to have hiked that with.

Will: Can I first say thank you to Instagram? Will was the person who gave me the energy and drive to hike all of the Vermont 4Ks. I had posted on my Instagram that was being lazy and didn’t want to hike three days alone. Well he messaged me and was like “If you don’t want to go alone, I’ll hike with you.” So yes, I did meet a random man from the internet and I am so glad I did! We have only hiked twice together but man were they hikes. The first was in Vermont where we hiked 2 Vermont 4ks. Then Will had a crazy idea to attempt a Single Season Winter 48 (SSW48: When you hike all NH 4Ks in on Winter. Crazy, I know) He messaged me one day and was like “Hey will you do a Hale/Zealand/Bond Traverse with me. Next thing I knew I was doing a 23 mile hike over 5 NH 4Ks. We started at 2:30 am to attempt to catch sunrise, got no sunrise because of clouds but still had an incredible day. Thanks Will for messaging me. I can’t wait to hike again.

Jo: If anyone has ever heard me talk about Jo, they hear me say this woman is a badass British lady. Also attempting a SSW48, I know she’s incredible. We met through our other hiking friend Alyssa F (addressed below). Since then, Jo has pushed me beyond limits I didn’t think possible. Everyone knows I hate running, but then Jo came into my life and I found myself trail running with her. I know crazy. We have done some really fun and fast hikes. I can always count on her to answer my hiking pack questions and she is always sending me little tips and tricks on how to make my hiking life better on trail. I legit get a couple paragraphs a week on  this and I am so thankful! She has been one of my biggest supporters when it comes to AT planning and I am truly grateful to call you one of my best friends.

Sarah: Sarah and I also met through Alyssa F and I am truly grateful and thankful for that. Sarah has become one of my best friends over the last couple months. You heard me talk about her in my last post on how I met Erin. She and I are just on the same level mentally and physically. We get each other. Hikes with her just make sense. Also we have some of the best conversations while hiking about our bodies and minds. I am truly grateful for all the thinking she has made me do. I can always count on her for a podcast to listen to that allows me to learn more about me as a person. Also plug for her as an amazing entrepreneur. Check out her website! She is amazing coach on wellness, especially for women who are trying to break out of that “diet culture”

Alyssa F: My hiking soulmate. I sometimes wish we met earlier in life because I don’t think I have hiked with anyone else more than I have hiked with you. We have been hiking in NY, Maine and NH. Hopefully one day other parts of the world. You are the reason why I have two of my other best hiking friends and I am forever grateful. I have also met so many hiking people through you and you make me less afraid to meet friends through social media. I couldn’t even possibly talk about our hikes because there have been too many to count. I love how the second time we met, you stayed with me and we hiked the rest of your Terrifying 25 trails!

Dom: Sorry for all your suffering. For those of you who don’t know, my boyfriend isn’t exactly a hiker. We have this funny saying that I have “trail boyfriends” and he is okay with it because it means he does not have to hike with me. But of course, we have gone on a couple hikes together. He has even hiked one NH 4000 footer (attempted a second), two terrifying 25trails and two 52 with a view trails! He might not have been happy but he did it for me and I appreciate it. Next to my family, he is my biggest supporter and has probably listened to me the most talk about hiking, the poor guy. We did start our relationship off by me saying “in 2.5 years I am going to do this hike and if you are not okay with it, don’t bother dating me” and here we are. Thanks for being so okay with this and for encouraging me to follow my dreams even when they don’t make life easier for you.

I guess we should now talk about my two first “failed” backpacking attempts as an adult. The first one was with Tyler, Kayla, and Dimitrios. First off, make sure those you are backpacking with are compatible hikers in more than just physical ability. Let me just say that the four of us have really strong personalities that made for an interesting hike. Not only that, but we were a little overzealous on choosing our hike thinking we would get over the Wildcats and Carters in a single day and get all the way to the Osgood tent site. A dumb move on my part back then but I didn’t know any better. I had not even started my attempt to hike the 48 4Ks. So as you can tell, we didn’t succeed and ended up camping for a couple days in the Great Gulf wilderness which was fun! We ended up spending fewer days in the woods as planned due to an injury of my friend, but nonetheless this set off my love for backpacking. 


The second attempt was with Alyssa M, Kevin P and Dimitrios. I couldn’t even tell you where we hiked, my best guess would be Bog Brook Trail. All I know is we did 8 miles in to a campsite and we essentially ran it. I was in the worst shape out of the three of them and we all were running to keep up with Kevin. Man, can that man hike fast. Sadly because he was going so fast his knee started bothering him. So after one night at camp, we ended up hiking back out to the car and ended our hike early. Regardless of injuries and other personal issues, this was one of my favorite hikes. Good friends, good hiking, and overall good times. Thanks to the three of you for helping me grow that love. 


I have a few people in my life that have gone on only one or two hikes with me. Stacey, Shayna, Q, Jill, Bobby, Jenna, Christina, Nykia, Camila, Matt C, Colin, Steve, Steve, Nate, Chris P, Maddie, Jess, Kia, Zach, Mike L, Matt C (aka Posty the Pirate), Liz, Kyrelle, Jane, Sue, and Erica. I am for sure missing some people. Some of you went on your first ever hike with me, some of you have been on a few hikes and some of you are better hikers that I am. Thanks for being a partner of mine and for agreeing to hike with me. You all gave me the opportunity to hike with someone new. Watching your smiles as you see the view and realize your accomplishment just makes my heart happy. 

A few shout outs to my one-two hike-wonders:

  • Stacey, that hike to the tea house in Banff was so incredibly fun. You did amazing! Shayna, our walk to the sunset in Banff was one of my favorite memories from that trip.
  • Q, remember when you thought 3 miles was going to be a long hike but then you felt like you were short changing me because it was easy? Oh what about when I took you up one of the tallest 4Ks up one of the hardest trails? Jill and Bobby were there way ahead of the two of us. You might have struggled, but you did amazing. Jill you are just incredible how you flew up that mountain with your dog on your shoulder and good for you Bobby keeping up with her because I for sure could not.
  • Jenna you beasted up those two mountains! We hiked almost 9 miles for your first hike! Wow!
  • Christina, hikes with you are always fun and most certainly involved the dark and alcohol. Need I say more?
  • Nyckxida you are a light. We have only done one baby hike but I will remember the day I met you and Alyssa forever. We had so much fun exploring the belknaps. 
  • Camila! We went on your first winter hike together! As a flatlander, you did incredible! Running and falling down the trail with you was so fun!
  • Matt and Ellen, remember 4th of july?  That sunset was beautiful!
  • Steve, we only met that one time hiking in Maine and might have only managed one peak but man did we brave the cold the three of us together! Also post hike Disney plus was pretty great. 
  • The other Steve: We met on those two hikes for Alyssa’s birthday and I really grew to appreciate you as a friend. I am glad I got to see you when I made it out to Colorado for that short time!
  •  Nate, the amount of Dix jokes I have in my brain now will last me a lifetime. The way you make whisky bottles sexy is incredible. I am glad we now have had two opportunities to hike together! I can’t wait to follow your year long road trip!
  • Chris P, remember our winter hike up Kearsarge? You had no traction and were slipping and sliding everywhere. It was so fun! Because of that hike, I now own a second pair of traction for people I bring on hikes.
  • Liz, Kyrelle, Jane, Sue, Erica: sorry for the more than you bargained for hike to the waterfall in Nashville for Aja’s Bach party. At least it was pretty!
  • Maddie: you were such a trooper hiking up to Glen boulder with Tyler and I. We might have had to help, but you made it above tree line and I was so proud!
  • Kia, Jess, Mike, Zach, and Dimitrios: I was just talking about how fun our trip was with Jess and Kia and how we decided to forage the river instead of hiking back the 2 miles. All of us were soaked over our ankles (well except Zach who we all entrusted with our phones). I still smile when I think about that day.

    Post forage through the river
  • Matt, Posty the Pirate Cherkerzian: I am honored to have given you your trail name. I am sad that we only just started hiking together because already I can tell that we make great hiking partners! Hopefully you and I can hike more in the future together! 


Lastly, Let’s go back to one of my worst hiking days ever. Mount Moosilauke. I don’t have any pictures because of how bad that day was. My poor hiking partners: Kevin, Kevin, Mike, and others who may have been there and have been blocked out of my memory. I laugh at how bad I was at that hike. I unfortunately only got 2-ish hours of sleep due to some unforeseen issues with my friend’s tent flooding. We had a late drive into the night to my parents house in NH then had to get up early and drive back. I’d love to blame lack of sleep on how horrible I was to hike with that day but I am willing to admit it. I was so out of shape. Like incredibly out of shape I laugh about that day now. Thanks guys for putting up with me. Come join me on the AT for a day, you’ll notice a HUGE difference!

Aja and Will: The now newlyweds I took on as twins bonds traverse overnight for their first 4000footers. Beasts right? They both did incredible! Thanks for allowing me to take you on this crazy hike. I hope the views were worth it! 5/48 done. When are we doing another? 

The day I finished my NH48 4000 footers: Mount Isolation. What a day this was. I started with 8 people total and peaked with four. Dom, Fe, Tamara, Kevin, Jason, Cameron, and Tyler. Everyone made it up over 4000ft, which is incredible considering two of them are not hikers, but man did they put in a strong effort. Two went down at 4000feet accompanied by the wonderful Kevin (Sorry dude you have to hike that again lol). One went down at 5000ft, which is a HUGE accomplishment. Fe, Jason, and Tyler pushed through and celebrated with me at the top…we might have had a little too much to drink and ran down from the top a little tipsy. I am still in awe about how wonderful that day was. All seven of you who joined me for that special day meant the world to me.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I would ever attempt to hike 2200 miles. Many people I mention this hike to have the first response of “Are you crazy?” Most of the time I just say “Yeah probably”, but now that I am about to embark on this journey of a lifetime I wanted to really think about my reasoning for hiking the AT. Lots of people have reasons like finding themselves, or for a person who passed away, etc. I don’t have anything like that. I just love to hike. It’s as simple as that. I have wanted to do this hike since I was a little girl. I have been doing a lot of reflecting about this and finally realized why I’m doing this. I am doing this for all the people who have shaped me into the hiker I am today. 


So the next couple posts are a tribute to all of those amazing people. (Sorry if I forgot anyone! I have hiked with so many people!)


My first memory of hiking happened when I was 6 years old. My parents decided to take 6 year old me and my 12 year sister on a hike to Mount Washington. We stayed at Lake in the Clouds hut and watched the fireworks on the 4th of July. I don’t remember much from this hike other than going up the Ammonoosuc trail and there was a large water crossing. Note that I am not a large human now, can you imagine 6 year old me? Well, my dad had to pick me up and carry me. This was the time of the external frame bag…You can imagine what happened next. My dad picked me up and my head hit against the metal frame (Explains a lot huh?). My poor father cared for me as I cried for the next 20 minutes. As always, hiking comes with a little bit of pain and I enjoyed the rest of the hike with the exception of going down the Jewel Trail the next day because it took FOREVER. So as you can see, I had a very enjoyable first big hike right. 


But that’s okay, it’s still a fun story and a part of my formative years as a hiker. 

One of the many times I hiked Mount Washington as a kid!

The people who have been the most supportive of my plans to hike the AT have been my family. My mom, dad and sister are 100% on board and in some ways just as and even more excited than I am. My sister and I talk gear, supplies, and websites probably every other day. My mom is flying down with me to send me off and my dad keeps asking how many more days until I start. So 10/10 best scenario I can ask for as a burgeoning hiker. My family has essentially spent years hiking in NH. They have come on multiple 4Ks with me so I didn’t have to hike alone, often hiking behind me as I run up the mountain and turning around when they meet up with me. That was super helpful when I did not have as many hiking friends and didn’t want to do the drive alone. My favorite hike I have done with my family is the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland. My whole family hiked 55K across a section of Iceland. I was so proud of them and this was probably the best family vacation we have ever had. 

Mom, Dad, and I hiking in Iceland. (My sister is not pictured, but she was there too!)

I could go on about my family and how supportive they have been with my hiking and how I truly attribute my love for hiking to them.


As long as we are talking about hiking experiences while younger, I need to talk about the family who took me hiking ery memorial day weekend: The Lanes. Every year I would go camping with the Lanes. Jill Lane is my childhood best friend. She did not like hiking that much when we were kids. Her parents on the other hand were hikers like me. They had a goal to hike all the NH 4Ks together, so naturally both their children were in really good shape. I on the other hand hated sports and physical activity so I was not in good shape. So when I say I struggled, that was an understatement. I have no clue what we hiked, but no matter how difficult it was for me I always had a smile on. These hikes were the only time physical activity didn’t make me hate myself. I had the spark at a young age. I had the “this is really hard but I like the pain feeling of hiking”. I do appreciate the Lanes for pushing me to hike with them. It truly helped create my love for hiking. 

This is not from when I was younger, but this is when Stephanie Lane and I attempted a Single day Presi traverse!

The last vivid childhood memory of hiking was when I used to go to camp for three weeks in the summer. I was always the theater kid at camp. I was in the show every year I was at camp. It was my thing. I can’t remember the show, but this particular summer I had one of the leads or supporting leads. We had rehearsal everyday because we had to put the shows up with a quick turnaround. Well, my camp one day was offering a day hike excursion. I signed up immediately because I was a “hiker” and I can remember my director getting so mad at me. But here I was choosing hiking over theater and I don’t regret it. I do attribute my love for hiking now to these memories as a kid and I don’t regret choosing hiking over other things in my life even back then. Thanks Farwell for giving me those opportunities.