My husband and I are currently living in Winter Park, CO. He’s been in this town for seven years, and although I’ve been bouncing around the state for 3.5, I’ve only lived in the Fraser Valley for a year. Our time here, however,  is coming to an end in a few short weeks. We are headed on a month(ish) long road trip/honeymoon/AT training session/seasonal relocation journey! We plan to hit six national parks, and will be traveling through Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon. I will share our future hikes and adventures as they come.

Where and Why?

We are planning on spending November through May in Bend, OR. I have already landed a job that is flexible with my start date, and Johnny (hubby) has an interview with Mount Bachelor next week. We live in our van, and both love to ski/snowboard, but cannot handle another -26 degree winter up here in the coldest place in Colorado. We are excited to shred new terrain, and we plan to use long days on the mountain as partial training for the AT. Skiing/snowboarding is the ultimate cardio and booty workout…. as long as you’re hustlin’.

The Purpose of This Post

Many people have expressed confusion with our choice to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. It would clearly make more sense to just stick out the winter in Colorado, and head out to hike the CDT next summer, but we are both ready for something new. I have personally spent a lot of time hiking and hanging out on the Divide, and it’s beautiful, and amazing, but so familiar, and also very scary/humbling. I’ve seen what these mountains have to offer, and I love it, but I’m ready to be submerged in Appalachia exploring places that I’ve never been before.

Another comment has been: “You’re going to Oregon, Why don’t you just hike the PCT?” Well, that’s also a good question, but the truth is, we’re just not ready for it. During our thru-hike, we are planning on leaving our doggo with my parents in Indiana, and it would be kind of a pain to get her there without actually going to the Midwest. We have every intention on doing day hikes along the PCT this fall/winter, and we honestly cannot wait to experience what the PNW has to offer, but it’s just not our time to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

 OK, Alicia. Stop Rambling

The Appalachian Trail will be completely new and exciting! Right now, our planned start date is June 10, 2020. We are heading SOBO from Katahdin in Maine.

I have this desire to mail most of our food so we will head to Indiana from Oregon, drop off the pup, and get our packages ready to go. My parents are amazing and supportive so they will be sending out the packages to our stops along the way. I am keeping a personal journal and have been using the 2019 AWOL guide to plan.

Right now, our goal is to hike 10-12 miles per day at the beginning of the AT. Don’t worry, we have experience climbing/scrambling and have accounted for extra time spent and assumed less miles on harder days.

I’ve been to the Smokies in Gatlinburg once, but other than that, neither of us have experienced Appalachia.  This will all be new and so refreshing. I still have to much to prepare for, but I cannot wait to get on the trail.

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Comments 3

  • TicTac : Sep 22nd

    Winter Park is NOT the coldest place in Colorado. That honor is held by Gunnison on the Western Slope, which more often than not is the cold spot in the Nation.

    • Alicia Pacalo : Sep 23rd

      Yes, Gunnison is also listed as one of the coldest places in Colorado, but so is Fraser. Fraser is the town that sits just 6 miles past Winter Park, and us valley folk tend to lump them together as one. We’re actually both correct on claiming these cities as the coldest. I’ve seen Fraser listed as one of the coldest places in the world based on many articles as well. Colorado has some frigid places.

  • Kristin Lynch : Jan 17th

    Yesssss SOBO 2020! Ya’ll are gonna LOVE Appalachia life. 10-12 miles a day is a perfectly reasonable pace for your start (I SOBOed in 2016 and started between 10-12 miles a day and increased as the terrain allowed, ending in the south with a normal pace of 20-25 miles a day.) Also, drop boxes can be handy in some towns, but I found my food cravings constantly changing and there are so many towns along the AT that you really don’t have to put in the energy to have constant boxes if it starts to feel like a headache. Sending luck and goodness!


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