Follow the 2024 AT Chaplain

AT entry for April

From Mountain Goat: 
Here’s what I’ve been learning from the trail this month. (Weeks 5-8) There’s so much God is teaching me, showing me, guiding me, and hopefully using me on trail. I’m loving this journey!! 




Week 5:  Flexibility and Friendship.

These two words stand out this week. Friendship- because my sweet (and tough) friend Angela, aka GPS, spent the whole week with me. She never complained, was always a positive, supportive, encouraging, and flexible buddy. She pushed me on trail and even when I was cranky in the pelting snow, she always had a smile on her face. Boy, did I need her that day!!!

She reminded me of a valuable lesson this week.  Positivity is SO important on the trail.

Flexibility- because our plans literally changed every day… for the better. We went from hot to freezing cold weather. We stayed in 3 hostels (only one was planned). We added miles to three of our days (20+ mile days) making our other days easier. We slack-packed. And as a last minute decision, we cooked a spaghetti meal for the entire hostel one night.

The trail requires Flexibility. It requires creativity. It requires fluidity.

Lastly… this week, I got sick. Just a head cold, but it kind of knocked me on my butt. I think God wanted to teach me about these two words within my sickness. I am so grateful for my hiking friends and GPS who spoke positive words to me, encouraged me to give myself grace, and dealt with my coughing. It also required me to change up my schedule a bit and taught me that I need to be more flexible with the “itinerary.“ Thanks head cold… sort of

Week 6: What’s in a name

On trail, you assume a “trail name.” This name identifies you.. not for status, family heritage, wealth, education, etc. It identifies you for what silly things you’ve done on trail or something about you.

My trail name is Mountain Goat. I earned it hiking in the Granite Mountains of Colorado. I like to think of it as “mountain Girl On A Trail”.  Some of my friends on trail are:

Rifle, St. Jon, Soap, Bear Taco, Ragnar, Sassafras, Gadget, Nomad, Goodwill, Buffalo, Red, Righty, Scar, Lolli, Chica, Glacier, Sweaty Betty, MacGuyver, Mr. Happy, Honey Stick

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

I know these people according to the trail. It’s a different world out here. We don’t care about jobs, or any of the stuff the world seems to care about. I love that!! I love this trail. I love the positivity.

You know, God gives us names too. He doesn’t care about any of the stuff the world cares about either. He calls us: Chosen, Child, Mine, Beloved, Called, Loved.

Choose to be known as these names. Choose to see others by these names too.

Week 7: Visit

For the past few days, I have been visiting with Alan and Mary Ashworth. Alan is a founder of the AT Chaplaincy. They live in VA and each year, they host the trail chaplain for a few days. Last Thursday, they picked me up. I took a zero day on Friday, then they “slack-packed” me Saturday thru Tuesday. (I was able to hike without having to carry all of my gear).

What a blessing they are to me.. a warm bed, lots of delicious food, and knowledge of the trail. 

In addition, they took me to a fundraiser dinner where Alan played music. To my surprise, my trail friends showed up too. It was one of my favorite days so far. 

Southern VA is an incredibly beautiful part of the AT. Burkes Garden as well as all of the green pastures I’ve been hiking in have taken my breath away. 

Two days of my slack-pack, I hiked southbound! I loved it!  Everyone else was hiking northbound, so I got to see SO many friends who unknowingly were hiking just behind me. Some I hadn’t seen since the Smokies. 

I think there’s a lesson there… 

We may think we’re alone in life, but when we look around, or change our outlook, we start to notice the many people walking with us, including Jesus. 


Week 8: The Sun is out. The SON is shining! 


This week has been mostly clear. Ahhh! 

I just love the sun, the warmth on my face and shoulders. Everything here in Southern Virginia is green and blooming. It’s beautiful.  

Friendships are blooming too. I’m constantly meeting new people, but it’s especially fun to meet up with people I met early on. This week, I got to hang out with some of both. 


God has been the topic of so many conversations. He is clearly working, moving hearts, giving me opportunities to pray for people and talk about God’s goodness and love. Some have been very receptive, to others.

God is such a foreign subject. But as one hiker said, “there are so many Christians on trail.”  Wow!  What if a Christian Revival breaks out on the AT?? What a blessing to be a part and gently share His love and my story to those He places in my path. 


I pray you too, look for ways to share Jesus with those around you. Share your story.. it’ll make a difference. 


Thoughts during my first month on trail
March 30, 2024

Week 1: Goodness!

First week, first 100 miles! God has shown me so much goodness this week. From the beauty of the mountains, the sky, the sun, and the rain too. He is keeping me strong and healthy. He is showing me so much goodness by allowing me to spend memorable moments with my close friends, and then to make memorable moments with new friends. He has shown me goodness and allowed me to pray with people, read God‘s word over people, encourage people, love on people, and to be loved on by such a sweet host family that hosted me over the weekend. God is so good. He is so gracious. amen

Week 2: Honored!

That’s my word for this week; Honored.

I have been so honored to have met such amazing people this week. Chris and Diane Bullis allowed me a zero day at their home and treated me like a queen.  They fed me, loved on me, and treated me like family even though they’d never met me. I was so humbled and grateful for their outpouring of blessings.

I have been honored to meet amazing people on trail too. (We get cozy on cold nights in the shelters) I ask you to pray for my new friends: A-fib, Grateful, MacGiver, Sweaty Betty, Honey Stick, Just Angela, St. Jon, Mr. Happy, Smiles and Pa Smiles, Tribute, korok, Uke, Long Island, Snow Bear, Guardian, Sea Turtle and her dog Serena, and many more.

I have been honored by the Holston Conference of the UMC. They commissioned me as chaplain, praying over me and fully supporting this journey.

I was also honored to have my sweet friend, Tina, join me for two days on trail this week. We had some real “type 2” fun hiking up mountains and had such incredible views of the mountains together.

And a special shoutout to my husband who “came in clutch” and got me a hotel for a very rainy day.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I am so honored to have your support.

Week 3: The Smokies.

Well, I made it through the Smokies in five days! The Smokies brought me cold, no… frigid weather. It also brought me some really good new friends.  I befriended a dear gentleman named Nomad, from Alabama. He made amazing fires in our shelters -three out of the five nights I was in the Smokies (With the help of my other new friends, Tinder and Guardian).

But along with the Smokies bringing me cold weather and good friends it has also brought me confidence. Confidence that I can withstand really cold weather, confidence that I can hike up and down mountains all day long, confidence that God has put me here for a reason, and confidence that as I enter into the rest of this journey, I will represent Jesus and share his love to those that I encounter.

Week 4: It’s the People!

I am loving the AT!  Yes, the views are amazing but it’s the people that make the Appalachian trail so fun.

Thought I’d share some of the people I’ve been hiking with this week.

If you think about it, say a prayer for each of these friends and that I will reflect Jesus every time I’m around them.

Captain, Torch, Skip, John, Steamboat & Willy, Bandit, Bluegrass, Mr Worldwide(aka Atlas), Stir Crazy & Wonder Woman, Larry, Chopstix, No Rush, Epic, Lolly, Chica, Scar, Boomer & Couch, Joey, Pipes, Uke, Chickpea.

Oh, and a great big THANK YOU to my husband, aka Command Central, for fully supporting this journey and to Blueberry (previous AT chaplain) who picked me,

let me shower and do laundry, and spend the night at her house. Ahhhhhh. Thank you God!!

Mileage to date: 352.9.

It’s time! Mountain Goat is set for her thru-hike
Feb. 26, 2024

The week has arrived!  The week I leave what’s familiar and safe and warm. The week I begin an epic journey that, I can confidently say, will change me forever. E

ver since I found out I was accepted as the 2024 AT Chaplain for the Holston Conference of the UMC, I’ve had “all the feels”, that’s for sure! Everything from excitement to hesitancy, from confidence to fear, and vice versa. I took some time to really evaluate what my role is and how I plan to accomplish it each day.  I’ve had some questions too. Am I prepared not to come home? Can I walk away from my family on

March 1 and fully trust that God is completely in control? Can I fully trust my Father with my life? Can I fully trust my Father with my children? Will He take care of them? Will He equip me with the words to say?

The answer is a solid- YES!

As I embark on this epic adventure with Jesus, I know that my Father is going before me. He WILL care for my family. He WILL care for me. He WILL see me through this. He WILL provide the words to say and the people to speak them to. He WILL protect.

Psalm 3:3 “But YOU are a shield around me O Lord, you bestow glory on me and lift up my head”

Psalm 4:8 “I will lie down and sleep in Peace for You alone O Lord make me dwell in safety.”

My Appalachian Trail Mission statement is this…”I will hike the A.T. sharing the love of Jesus to those I encounter so they FEEL His presence, SEE His goodness, and HEAR His good news. In short, I want to “touch hearts and touch that sign” (at Mount Katahdin). With God, I know this is possible!

Yesterday was my last day worshipping at my home church before hitting the trail.  My pastor spoke on Luke 14:25-33, a rather fitting topic for me. I encourage you to read it for yourself.  In these verses Jesus speaks directly to the crowd- no parables here, just a direct, in your face statement.  (Jesus is just so cool) His topic: the cost of discipleship.

My pastor shared that there are basically three choices we have- Choose to reject God, Choose to waste your salvation, or Choose to be His disciple.  Salvation is such a beautiful gift, isn’t it? Jesus, perfect Jesus, died on the cross for me!  For you!  And He lovingly gives us free-will to accept this salvation. This one-time YES, brings us into fellowship with God.  But being a disciple of Jesus means saying YES every single day; laying down my life before the Lord, taking up my weapons and being ready for battle, being willing to get uncomfortable and unsafe.

I want to be Jesus’ disciple! I want to love Him and serve Him every day.  I want to hand over everything to Him because I know He will care for me. (1 Peter 5:7) No more wasted days!  I want Jesus to be the most noticeable part of my life. My prayer is that this is what people see on the Appalachian Trail!


Do you want this too?  Look around you and ask yourself: who, what, and where has God placed me? What is my purpose? You have one!  And if not, make the necessary changes.  Become a REAL disciple of Jesus. Hand over to Him your life, daily, and watch Him do incredible things with it.

1 Peter 5:6-11

Humble yourself therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled, alert. Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.