Knoxville resident Gretchen Pardon is taking on an Appalachian Trail thru-hike with her hiking partner, Baby Yoda.
We will be tracking her journey from Amicalola Falls, Georgia to Katahdin Mountain in Maine for the next 6 months with weekly video updates and check-ins on her Instagram @HikingWithBraids and her YouTube channel, Hiking With Braids.
If you want to see how Baby Yoda is doing, you can follow it at @BabyYodaontheAT.
Saturday, June 27
Gretchen celebrated her 46th birthday on the trail! Happy birthday!
Friday, June 26
Gretchen and Baby Yoda are in Pennsylvania and have passed the 600-mile mark on their journey to Maine! She crossed over the Mason-Dixon Line and the official halfway point of the Appalachian Trail. She was also able to get a new pack to help her on her journey.
Monday, June 15
Gretchen and Baby Yoda have passed the 500-mile mark on their journey to Maine! She was also able to reunite with her husband for a couple of days in Virginia before she heads back out on the trail.
Friday, June 5
Gretchen crossed the 400-mile mark on her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Monday, May 25
After returning home for two months as a precaution against COVID-19, Gretchen and Baby Yoda are back on the Appalachian Trail.
She said she plans to do a "flip-flop hike" meaning she will continue on to Maine and then double back to make up some miles in between. This will ensure she can make it to Maine before Katahdin Mountain closes in mid-October.
Monday, March 30:
Gretchen is back home in East Tennessee and opened up about her decision to end her thru-hike early amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though the trail was hard, she said leaving it was the hardest thing she's ever had to do. She plans to return as soon as it is safe.
For now, she is spending time with her family and wants to encourage others to live in the moment and not dwell on the things they cannot do.
Tuesday, March 24:
Gretchen and Baby Yoda have decided to stop their thru-hike for now to take precautions against COVID-19.
"I’m not giving up on my dream, but I am putting it on hold for now and returning home - hopefully only temporarily, but only time will tell," she said in an Instagram post.
Monday, March 16:
Gretchen and Baby Yoda made it to a very foggy Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and were greeted by her husband, Jerry, family, friends and even a few of her YouTube subscribers all bearing food and supplies so she can restock (and treat herself).
She is 26 days into her journey and officially over the 200-mile mark and taking a short rest before she gets back on the trail. She said she is getting stronger every day. According to the trailhead sign at Newfound Gap, she has 1,972 miles until her final destination in Katahdin, Maine.
Wednesday, March 11:
Gretchen and Baby Yoda have face snow, rain and sunshine on their trek through the North Carolina portion of the AT. She is looking forward to crossing into the Smokies soon.
Wednesday, March 4:
Gretchen and Baby Yoda crossed the 100-mile mark on their AT thru-hike.
Sunday, March 1:
Gretchen and Baby Yoda have officially made it through Georgia. North Carolina is next.
Friday, Feb. 28:
Gretchen made it through her first week on the Appalachian Trail. She's already endured rain, sleet and snow, but she's still smiling! Baby Yoda appears to be doing well too!
Thursday, Feb. 20:
Gretchen set off from Amicalola Falls, Georgia to start her nearly 2,200-mile journey to Katahdin Mountain in Maine.
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