Calling All 2016 Thru Hikers!

Hello from the Hike Inn! It has been a beautiful sunny day today and I have been thinking about this years upcoming thru hiker class. There have been just a few people starting the trail already! I hope they can handle the cold weather better than I can. Time will go by so fast and before you know it, you will be starting your hike as well.


The past two days we have had a high school group from Atlanta stay at the Hike Inn. They have been so eager to learn about their environment as well as the Appalachian Trail. Many of them enjoy hiking and could one day pursue a thru hike. It has been so fun getting to share stories with them and see the excitement in their faces. It gives me great joy to talk to them and I encourage them to contact me if they ever have more questions about hiking or camping.


I encourage you all, thru hiker class of 2016, to get the same joy I have received talking to students about the Appalachian Trail. Apply for our program and we will help you on your way to inspiring young minds everywhere! The program is great because you do not have to go out of your way to participate. You just hike your hike on the AT and share your stories with the classroom. But the beauty of it is, you don’t have to actually go to the classroom! You can send emails and pictures, write some postcards, anything to share your adventures with these kids. So please, apply now on our home page there is a word document attachment. Just fill it out and send to

Thanks! Hope to hear from you soon!

Leigh (Starcrunch)


Lady On A Rock Visits The Hike Inn

Christy “Rockin” Rosander and family came to the Hike Inn! She is a well known outdoor blogger from California known as Lady on a Rock. Richard Judy our board President sent her one of his books so she decided to visit with her family of four. Their trail names are Stealthy, Silly Chili and Dan. They are all very active and have been on numerous trips out West. They raced each other up the stairs to the falls and enjoyed the hike to the Inn. They also hiked up to Springer to see the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail before they headed out on Thanksgiving Day. Most of them have not been east of the Mississippi so it was a new and exciting experience hiking in the Appalachians.

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Christy has amazing stories about all of her hiking trips. She has hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), part of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), the Tahoe Rim and Lost Coast Trails and trekked in Scotland. Her family lives close to the Sierra Mountain Range in California so she has been on numerous trips in California. Her blog has great information on hiking trips, gear, health and educational resources. As a teacher, she is inspired to help kids get involved with the outdoors and is developing her own curriculum to take to classrooms. She is supportive of our AT Ambassador to the Schools Program and provided some great advice on some tools we could use and how to get kids more involved.

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We hope they have been inspired to hike the Appalachian Trail someday and we look forward to reading about more of Rockin’s adventures!

(To visit Christy’s blog, go to

Meet Emily “Black Bear” 2015 AT Thru-Hiker


Emily “Black Bear” is a 2015 Appalachian Trail Thru hiker. She saw the AT Ambassador Facebook page and contacted me because she did something similar on her own during her thru hike. I asked her about her trip and involvement with the schools and here is what she said.

“The idea to hike the Appalachian Trail came from a friend of mine. One day she sent me a text asking me if I wanted to do it since our youngest sons each would be graduating high school and we soon would be empty-nesting. I said sure. Up to that point I never even thought about doing it. As a matter of fact many years prior I had a read an article about a woman thru hiking the trail and thought ‘why on earth would anyone ever want to do such a thing?’ And now, I have done just that.

Since I was already involved in education and specializing in PE/health I thought it would be great to get children involved as well. This accomplished 2 things, 1) exposing youth to the adventures of the outdoors and 2) help keep me accountable so I wouldn’t quit.

It was a lot of fun having the kids be a part of my hike. I actually had 3 schools following me. My sister’s special education class also kept tabs on me and would send me words of encouragement. They sent me cards after my hike. All Saints Catholic School students made me prayer cards that I uploaded to my blog for my followers to read each. It was awesome.”


Emily chose the schools because of her affiliation to them. Her boys went to the schools and she taught at them. She texted and emailed the teachers and also wore a DeLorme Explorer tracker that sent out a signal every 10 minutes so they could track her whenever they wanted. She carried three bandanas with her the whole way that the kids signed. She visited the schools before her hike to get the kids excited and ready to follow her. She is having her first post hike visit and presentation to one of the schools in the middle of December.

She loved being connected with the kids and thinks it is a great idea for other hikers to do the same. We will be keeping in contact with her because she has awesome ideas and we really appreciate her sharing her story!

If you would like to read more about her story you can check out her blog at


SOBO Thru-Hiker “Twigs”


The Hike Inn had the pleasure of opening our doors to a Southbound thru-hiker named Twigs. He was able to stay with us for a few days and help out in the kitchen and talk to fellow guests about his recent hike. He was such a joy to be around and his enthusiasm for the trail really showed to the guests.

Twigs is from Minnesota and took a leave of absence from work to do his thru-hike. It was something he had always wanted to accomplish. He set off in July at Katahdin in Maine and finished in 112 days at Springer Mountain! He flew on the trail! His long legs and determined attitude surely helped him in his journey. He hiked mostly with a friend he met on the trail named Jacob who was from Europe. They split up shortly before finishing so Jacob could meet his father. Twigs was in good company when he finished and headed to the Hike Inn, we welcomed him with open arms.

I drove Twigs to Atlanta so he could catch a flight back to Minnesota. We swapped many AT stories and I had a blast getting to know him. He is  back in Minnesota now and settling into life off the trail. We wish him the best and will continue to keep up with his adventures!

-Leigh (Starcrunch)


About The Hike Inn

The Hike Inn is a sustainably designed Georgia State Park facility nestled in the Chattahoochee National Forest, just a few hours north of Atlanta. Its four main buildings offer twenty private guest rooms, hot showers, fresh linens and home-cooked meals.

From the experienced Appalachian Trail “thru-hiker” to the family seeking a unique weekend getaway, the Hike Inn’s secluded location allows a wide range of people to enjoy the peace and beauty of the mountains without the trappings of modern life.

The Hike Inn’s mission is to make experiencing nature easy, and help protect it through education and recreation. A moderate five-mile hike from the top of Amicalola Falls, the Hike Inn is open year round.

For me, I just finished a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and the Hike Inn seemed like a perfect place to hang out and volunteer for a few days. I was offered a part time job and I am thrilled to be working here! When the general manager told me about this program she wanted to start, I jumped right in. I think it is amazing that the Hike Inn wants to become more involved with the Appalachian Trail Community and thru-hikers.

There will be more to come as we begin to launch this program. But for now, happy hiking!

-Leigh (Starcrunch)