Sunday, March 30, 2014

Plans change!

I'm heading back to Gatlinburg TN tomorrow and am going to pick up where I left off. Jenna has pulled ahead so I'm going to be tackling the rest of the Smokies alone. I'm pretty nervous but am so excited to get back on the trail.

Nanny told me that having me home made her the happiest so I think this trip was worth it and then some. They're releasing her from the hospital tomorrow!

Trips home are always nice though. Have missed my family so much. Any time I get with them is time well spent.

Been cuddling with this guy for the last few days.

Hoping to pull some bigger miles so I can catch up to my hiking bubble. Wish me luck! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Short Detour Home

Just posting to explain why I'm home right now. Received a call from home a few days ago with some pretty terrifying news about my grandmother so I bought a Greyhound bus ticket to get from Gatlinburg to Roanoke the next day.

My intention was to go home and be with family - the trail could wait. A few hours before my bus was about to leave, we got another call saying the doctors had changed the diagnosis and Nanny is going to be okay! She's still in the hospital so I still came home but it looks like everything is going to work out. She's going to be so pissed I got off the trail, ha. BUT I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HER I'M SO EXCITED.

I am going to pick the trail back up in Hot Springs, NC and meet Jenna there. After Maine, I'll come back to NC and hike the 70 miles I'm missing right now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Half way through the Smokies!

Woke up yesterday morning to about 4 inches of snow on the ground. Walked the three miles to Clingmans Dome - highest point on the AT.

Once we got to Clingmans, we ran the next seven miles to Newfound Gap to hitch into Gatlinburg, TN. Stayed here last night to escape the ongoing snow storm/dropping temps. Got off the mountain just in time, they closed the road. Ridge runners/rangers had to rescue a few hikers.

The road is still closed, we may be stuck here for another day. Gatlinburg is by far the strangest place on earth. If a carnival had a baby with a rodeo, it'd be Gatlinburg. Can't complain though, found this breakfast buffet.

Not pictured:
-two things of cereal
-fruit plate


Saw a "redneck putt putt" place and Jenna refuses to play with me. How dare she think that's beneath her. I'm going to go explore Gburg now and hopefully take an old-fashioned photo.

Til Hot Springs, signing off!

Ps. I have a new trail name. Prom Queen.

-_____- better than Wal-Mart I suppose.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Hello hello! I'm really awful at updating this. A lot of things have happened since my last post.

-We crossed into North Carolina! Georgia: check.

They say if you can make it out of Georgia, you can make it the whole way so when we crossed into NC, I suppose I was expecting easy, flat meadows and cheeseburgers at every turn. NAH. Carolina is no joke. The hardest climb yet was right after the border but my God, it's a beautiful state.

-We also crossed the 100-mile mark. The first one hundred miles have really been a learning experience. You learn something new every day - like look where you're stepping or you'll walk right through human shit. My life sucks.

-Jenna and I hiked through the rain... 40 degree rain... 40 degree downpour. We learned very quickly not to do this ever again. Had to stop in a shelter and change clothes/hop in the bags for a few hours. I've never been hypothermic so I have no frame of reference but I can say this: it was balls cold.

Aside from the occasional setback, I'm still having a great time. We've met some wonderful people.

Fresh Ground is a guy who dedicates two weeks of his summer running "Leap Frog Cafe"... just a tent he pops up off the trail and offers hikers free food. He'll then pack up and drive a few hundred miles up the trail just so the same people can run into him again. I'm expecting to see him at Fontana Dam.

The "trail magic" concept is something I really love out here. People will go out of their way just to help you, in their own small way, complete your hike. Jenna and I pulled our first long day and half way through, we found a box labeled "magic" and inside were all kinds of snacks. That rice crispie treat got my ass over the mountain.

These other guys just gave Jenna and I their stove. They were weekend hikers and "wouldn't use it again" ...I wish there were a way to thank them again.

Mumbles, Ice Party, Weesaw, Hyperbole, CJ, Wiffle, and Turtle are some of the regulars we've been hiking with and running into at shelters. You bounce around from hiker bubble to bubble but I hope I get to see these guys again!

Anyway, so far so good. Will post again after the Smokies! Should be rolling in on Mondayish.

Last thing - mail drop! A few of you have asked how you can get packages to me. We'll walk through Hot Springs, NC in a little less than two weeks. You can send whatever to:

Kristen Bacon
C/O Hostel at Laughing Heart Lodge
289 NW 25/70, Hot Springs, NC 28743
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA April 1, 2014

I like letters.

Signing off!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


We're 69.6 miles in! We cross into North Carolina TOMORROW. And thank God, Georgia has kicked my ass.

Thought I was going to freeze to death last night but so far, things have gone pretty smoothly. The trail definitely whips you in shape. It's like the ultimate diet... but I get to eat Snickers.

Staying in the cutest hostel ever tonight and back on the trail first thing the morning. Gearing up for the Smokies! Brrrrr.

Got a trail name today. Walmart. V pissed about it. Working on changing this to SOMETHING, ANYTHING a little classier. Like Target.

I'm beat. Will post more when I have a computer/am awake.

More soon!

Friday, March 7, 2014

the beginning

Writing this post from Lawrenceville, Georgia. We landed in Atlanta 2 days ago and in those 2 days, I've probably gained about twenty million pounds. Roughly. I've missed southern food.

We're staying with Jenna's dad's cousin. She and her husband are arguably the sweetest people in the world. And also wise. Her trail advice, "if you don't finish, it's crap." I hope to carry those motivational words all the way to Maine.

We went to the grocery store and stocked up on food. I think we may have overdone it a bit. My pack weight went from manageable to OH GOD WHY in about 15 minutes. Oh well, I'm sure I really do need a million snickers, RIGHT?

Starting pack weight: 30 lbs. I can, and will, cut this down.

Anyway, we start tomorrow. Game on, nerds.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

bye for now, portland

My last couple of weeks in Portland have been wonderful. I've done a lot of shit. Quit my job (will miss you, Forix!), ate grits, got a tattoo, barfed in the Crystal Ballroom bathroom - all memorable things.

 found these gems on my phone
taken with a potato
this guy

In all seriousness though, I said goodbye to a lot of great people tonight. I moved to Portland looking for something after I graduated from college. Naturally, I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but I know I found it and so much more in the friends I've made here. I wouldn't have lasted in this city without the "soccer bo's" - if you're reading this, I have a special place in my heart for each of you and I'll see you all in 6 months.