In 2016, my wife, daughter and I hiked the John Muir Trail in the Sierra mountains of California. It was on that trip that my daughter, McKenzie, was bitten by the bug to do a thru-hike on one of America's "Long Trails". She confided in me that she wanted to hike the AT (Appalachian Trail) the year after she graduated high school in 2019. Of course, since hiking the AT end to end was a goal of mine when I was just a young man, I immediately responded, "If you do this, I am going too!" And so here we are, on the edge of stepping into that great adventure as a father-daughter duo! Our enthusiasm has been so high that McKenzie also "coerced" two cousins of hers, Sarah Harthan and Naomi Barrett, to join us!
But walking for the sake of walking leaves little to be desired! We needed a purpose. As God would have it, my business, CabinetJoint.com, has been supporting Hope Walks, a ministry whose purpose is to "free children, families, and communities from the burden of clubfoot". We thought this would be an opportunity for us to walk with purpose! We have self-funded our hiking trip, but we are asking everyone we know to donate to the cause we are walking for! Every dollar you donate will go directly to Hope Walks. Remember, it only costs $432 to save ONE child from this debilitating condition! But, anything you can do will help a child in need and give him or her a chance at a real future, one without the social stigma and pain that come with this condition.
I sincerely appreciate your support for this fundraiser and my goal. You can donate now and by hitting “Give Now” on the upper right. You can give with any major credit card and it only takes 30 seconds. I appreciate it so very much.
Thank you for joining us!
March 4, 2021 8:45 AM
Looking forward to my daughter and I being interviewed by Smart Talk Radio in Harrisburg, PA on March 19th! Our segment is from 9:40 to 10:00 AM on WITF Radio, 89.5FM. We are looking forward to the opportunity to discuss with host, Scott LaMar, our reasons for hiking, the Hope Walks ministry we are supporting (please dontate to the cause, if you have not already!! https://www.grouprev.com/march-to-katahdin-mypage. All money goes to help kids with clubfoot lead normal lives. What a great cause!), fears and challenges we face, and much more. Join us!
Also, don't forget to check in on our MeWe page https://mewe.com/i/brianlong69 for updates on our hike preparation, etc.
February 2, 2021 9:25 AM
More updates on our upcoming hike have been added to our MeWe page. In the most recent posts, I discuss how we are handling the recent news that the ATC is discouraging thru hikes in 2021 (same as in 2020). We also have some fun facts about the AT you may enjoy. In coming days, I will be posting about "Trail Lingo" and acronyms as well as some more gear updates and mental head space "check ins". Please be sure to share this fundraiser with your friends and family as we are still well short of our $10K goal (we are at $1500 now).
Check out the MeWe page and thanks for supporting and following us!
January 25, 2021 5:56 PM
Hey Everyone! Just wanted to let you know there is an update posted on our MeWe page (https://mewe.com/i/brianlong69). Today's update features an in-depth review and video of our sleep system for the AT hike: The Warbonnet Blackbird XLC backpacking hammock. Check it out by following the link and joining up. Again. MeWe is like Facebook, only secure and a-political. If all you want to do is follow our hike, then just sign up (free) for MeWe, set your profile to not be "visible" and you won't get slammed with friend requests. We just needed one easy to use platform with a good phone app and interface so that we could easily post updates from the trail and since, well...I HATE facebook and social media... chose MeWe because of its stance and its privacy. Hope you join us there and follow along!
One neat tidbit...One of our followers read our recent post the other day about my reasons for hiking and she wants to join us on the trail for a week in the Smokies! Now, it just so happens to be my sister, but still, isn't that freaking cool? Our enthusiasm for this hike is getting infectious!
January 20, 2021 8:27 PM
Hey all. Due to the difficult interface of Group Rev, we will be moving our AT hike updates and communication to a new social media platform called MeWe. Here is the link to the page...
Whenever I have a new update to share, I will post the link again here in grouprev. You can just click the link to go to MeWe and follow along or stay connected directly through MeWe
So what is Mewe? It's a new social media platform that acts and feels just like Facebook, only without ads, tracking, privacy issues, politics, or censorship. It will ask you to sign up (free) and become a follower of ours, but that is where it can end for you. You do not need to learn a new platform, engage all your friends, etc (unless you like the platform and prefer to use it over facebook).
So, click the link above, sign up (takes a few seconds) and check out the newest post I added tonite and "why am I hiking the AT in the first place?"
Thanks again for your support and thanks for staying interested in our hike!
January 19, 2021 11:13 AM
It's January 19th and we are a little more than 2 months away from "Go time". I am awaiting the arrival of a few packages containing my down booties (for sleeping) and some OR (Outdoor Research) gloves. My final purchase will be a winter cover and under quilt protector for my hammock. At that point, my gear will be dialed in with a winter base weight of about 20 lbs plus 10 lbs for food and water). Once we get through the possible winter conditions of the smokies, I will be able to send back about 4 lbs worth of cold-weather items: Some extra hammock layers like the under quilt protector, warm sleeping pad, swap out to a lighter weight summer sleeping bag, down booties, glove covers, some extra core/base layers, and my trail runners and crocs which I will switch out for my Chaco sandals- these double as my camp shoe). This will put my summer base weight at about 16 lbs and 25-26 fully loaded.
Much of my time now is spent prepping for the trail, doing my loaded pack training hikes through Gettysburg and Michaux, 8 miles at a pop 3-4 days a week. I recently contracted COVID and was worried it would derail my training, but my symptoms were nothing more than a loss of taste/smell and a mild headache the first day. I had no breathing issues, congestion, or fatigue. I would say I was more or less "asymptomatic", so my training has not been derailed at all and my body has now encountered the dreaded COVID before I got on the trail...That, to me, is good news!
I had to postpone my meeting with "Wild" (AKA: Eric Patterson) to hear about his 2020 thru-hike, but we are supposed to get together tomorrow and I look forward to it very much! Will keep you all posted as we continue to plan, train and dream! We are so excited to be doing this and cannot wait to pass under the arch at Amicalola Falls, GA on April 8th!
January 8, 2021 12:16 PM
In 3 short months, we leave on our AT adventure and the sign at the top of Mt Katahdin is our destination. 2200 miles over 6 months and some of the most spectacular scenery in our country. Next Tuesday, January 12th, I am meeting Eric Patterson (AKA: trail name = Wild) who just completed his trek in October of 2020. I bought an Osprey Exos pack from Wild last February just before he departed on his trip and I had the pleasure of watching his entire trip unfold through YouTube. You can watch it here...Anyway, Eric has granted me a few hours to pick his brains on his trip, ask what he would have done differently, etc. I am very much looking forward to talking to a class of 2020 Alumni about his experiences! I am sure I will come away motivated and super excited to jump on the trail! In my next update, I will share some of the new gear changes McKenzie and I made in 2020 as we tinkered and fiddled through our period of unplanned delay. I think in the end, the delay was good because our packs are lighter and our gear is now much more dialed in! Stay tuned!
January 7, 2021 7:17 PM
For those of you who may have been following us in the lead up to our AT hike in 2020, you probably remember that we had to pull the plug due to COVID. There were just too many concerns about resupply, pressure from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to NOT hike if at all possible, etc and we were, selfishly, very concerned that the "experience" of hiking the trail would be tarnished. Fast forward to 2021 and our new departure date is April 8th and we could not be more excited! While there still exists some pressure from the ATC to not hike (they are not even recognizing thru-hikers in 2021 with a patch as a way of trying to curtail interest in thru-hiking during the pandemic...but we ain't hiking for no stinkin' badges anyway!) and resupply still poses some concern, we have committed that this is our year. My 53-year-old body is not getting any younger and my daughter is going to need to get on with her life, so we need to "carpe diem" if we are ever going to get this done!
You may notice that you cannot see the updates on this fundraiser from last year. The reason is, the fundraising organization (group rev) changed its platform and forced us to start a new fundraiser page, deleting the old one. So, I cannot even cut and paste the old posts into this blog. But, fear not, I will try and keep you all updated in the lead up to departure as well as on the trail. Please pray for us as we plan our gear and prepare our bodies for our April 8th departure from Springer Mountain, GA! Thanks for following us and for considering to support our cause with Hope Walks!