This is it!

Dearest friends and family!

It’s finally time to announce that I’m heading to the East Coast tonight to start one of the most daunting, biggest adventures that I’m lucky to get to take on.

This week, I’m going to start my first steps of 5 million, to thru-hike the length of the Appalachian Trail within one year. These 2,190 miles stretching from Georgia to Maine are imbued with family history - 70 years ago this year, Earl Shaffer, younger brother of my grandfather, was the first person to successfully thru-hike the entire Trail.

Since then, he hiked it two more times, finishing his final hike at the age of 79. I’m so honored to follow in his footsteps, as well as those of the thousands of hikers who have followed him. My whole life I’ve loved hearing stories about Uncle Earl, especially from my dad, aunts, and uncles. He was an incredible outdoorsman with a heart for people, nature, and community. The Appalachian Trail and the community around it were his home and family.

As I hike along, I hope to honor Earl and those who have hiked the Trail. I’m sure I’ll find adventures, lessons, newfound friends all along the Trail. There will be beauty, hardship, grit, and art to wrap it all up into an adventure story I’m happy to share with you all! Feel free to follow here, or find me on Instagram @kimhikesthru  . I'll also update my Facebook page here - you're welcome to visit and interact with me here!

I'll regularly post updates, as well as sketches (both illustrations and paintings), stories, and giveaways from the trail.

Follow along - I can't wait to share this adventure with you!