My dirty fingernail pointing out where the storm pushed us off trail
Leo and I have been hustling, well hustling as fast as we’re able. We were doing about 12 miles a day, but have been sidelined for a couple days by snow, ice, and gale force winds. 

A group of hikers had come down from the mountain and found Leo and I huddled in our tent. I hadn’t had service in a couple days so I was unaware of how cold it had gotten and how much worse it was going to get. As, snow and sleet accumulated on my tent Leo and I had barried ourselves further into our sleeping bags. When I heard the mass of hikers outside my tent I scuddled out to gather more information about the situation. They talked me into packing up all my gear quickly and getting Leo and I down to safety. I’m glad I listened to them. Reports are coming in of people being snowed in, passes that are too icy to go through, and people having to be helicoptered off of mountain tops.

While it was the right call to come down, it’s also put us a bit behind schedule. I’ll have to be making some big days to make up a fraction of the time. Leo is leaving the trail for two weeks today (my heart is breaking as this will be our longest separation) but that means I might be able to go a little faster and a little further than I have been. Leo has a habit of locking on to 20lbs logs and digging his paws in, which means I’m climbing a mountain with a 50lbs backpack and dragging a 70lbs weight plate. I’ll be in season ready when this is all done– for whatever season comes up. 

Other than falling behind on schedule one of the reasons I didn’t want to come down is it is costly to stay in hostels, and only the most disciplined Hiker can pass up a hot meal, coffee, and a beer when in town. I have been living off my savings since the attack in August and they are quite depleted.  People keep asking how they can help us accomplish our goal of they hiking the Appalachian Trail. We’d really appreciate some help so we aren’t afraid to catch a shuttle when the weather is dangerous, food for Leo, updates to gear (had to splurge on long underwear for the Smokies), or staying in a hostel when some R&R is required. 

If you want to help us out I’m on Venmo and PayPal.me 

At this point other than words of encouragement this would be the most helpful to keep us on the trail. 

Also, big shout out to the handful of people who have already sent us donations, cookies, and resupply package. We appreciate it. This is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done. It’s also one of the most rewarding. Thanks for believing in us and keeping us moving . 

Pancake and bacon breakfast at First Baptist Church in Franklin,NC. Leo is now obsessed with bacon