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Training for the Appalachian Trail

Adalia (16), Tilly (13) and Judah (14).

Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy having teenagers?  Well, I do. These three had were born in less than 2 1/2 years with Tilly and Judah being only 12 months and 3 weeks apart in age. It made for a wild few years with lost sleep, constant breastfeeding, bazillions of diapers, crying and having almost too many babies to hold.

Now? Now the three of them have decided to tackle the Appalachian Trail. Apparently they read about it (in a school book of all places) and thought it looked awesome.   Nevermind that it takes six months to hike, they’ve got all the time in the world.  And so they are training. We happen to live smack in the middle of a beautiful valley and just down the road from a hiking trailhead, so they’ve taken to hours-long hikes up the mountain I stare at every day as I blog. You can read about one of their recent adventures here at Blogging by the Dozen.


  1. Robyn

    I grew up right on the A.T. in New Hampshire. Section hiked parts in New England but never thru-hiked it (my mother keeps threatening to, though). What a great project!

    The trail went right past our house, and right past my high school. It was fun to see the thru-hikers wandering around town. By the time they made it to NH, they all looked pretty hardcore!

  2. Melissa

    And that is why I want to homeschool.

    I, too, would love to hike the AT. I teach so I’d probably have to break it into 3 chunks for summer breaks. Or, wait til I have teenagers and hope they’ll do it with me… and homeschool along the way?

  3. Kim

    What a great adventure. My husband has hiked many portions of the AT, but never all at once. I’m not a hiker, but I’ve been on a few brief portions. The mountains through Virginia are beautiful. We are couple of hours away from parts of the AT – kind of half-way between the ocean and the mountains.

  4. Carrie

    You will want to read the Bryson book aloud so that you can edit as you read as there is LOTS of profanity, but it is VERY funny!

  5. EV

    You might want to read the Last American Man – I can’t remember if it is teen appropriate. Eustace Conway holds the speed record for hiking the trail. He has great stories about it.

  6. Elizabeth

    My brother-in-law hiked the trail right after college on his own…. Georgia to Maine. (Unlike Bill Bryson who only hiked sections. I was a little disappointed in the book, can you tell?) I’m sure he would be happy to tell your young people about his experience and give them some tips if they are interested.

    I’ll vouch for him, he’s a good guy and father of 4. Of course, since you don’t know me from Adam, I suppose that recommendation doesn’t carry a lot of weight. But I am real-life friends with Ann from Crazy for Kids and she’ll vouch for me. 🙂

  7. queli

    PBS had a show on the appalachain trail. I remember watching it a few years ago and it was very interesting. I’m not a huge fan of most documentaries, but I could watch this one over again. It was informative.
    Here are the two I found: Appalachian trail: The Beaten Path and Appalachian Impressions (which is what I watched or so it seems after watching the trailer on youtube). Both DVD’s can be found on amazon.

  8. Sue Jeffery

    During Spring Break we hiked into the terminus in Georgia. A lot of the through hikers start there in April so we got to hang out with quite a few groups just heading out. It was fun to hear & see their enthusiasm. We learned the starting weight of all their packs. One guy said he was doing well till his mom started filling it with all the things that he “needed.” 🙂 We live up in NY for the summer in a park where the trail runs through, so we are hoping one of the hikers calls us so we can come meet him & give him a hot meal. My daughter reminded us to take a photo so that we can see if he’s changed at all by then. It’s an amazing adventure. Remember us if the plans come to fruition, we can be added support in GA or NY depending on where we are.

  9. Lou

    I love hiking (we call it bushwalking in Oz). And I love giant long trails (we call tracks, though often there is no track!) I think your kids are great.

    Just curious, when you post about the “bigger” or “older” kids, do Enoch and Jubilee usually count? They seem to be a bit in the middle. Just wondered. Not here, just in general.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Lou- it just depends on what we’re talking about! Usually we refer to the “five big kids” meaning Adalia through Kalina…or the “three big kids” meaning Adalia, Judah and Tilly.

  10. Elizabeth

    I love when young people have initiative! Have your teens read “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris? You sound like my mom. She loved when us older kids were teens. She used to love telling random people that just to see their jaw drop.

  11. Joslyn Postma

    How wonderful! I live in WV just minutes away from the trail. It is always fun to talk to the hikers who pass by and ask where they started from and how long they have been hiking.

  12. Steph

    I’ve read over a dozen books on the AT, and Bryson’s book, while good, is overrated and not the best picture of life on the trail. From a Christian perspective, I’d recommend “Blind Courage” by Bill Irwin. I can recommend others if you like. Bryson’s was light on the hiking and trail focus, which is no doubt what your three will be most interested in.

    I’m planning to spend a few days on the AT this summer myself. 🙂

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