Trail Karma

As we've been hiking it seems good things have come our way on many occasions. Some call it luck, some call it fortune, some call it karma. On April 2nd as we descended blood mountain we met Karly at Neil Gap, a Mountain Crossing employee who was very curious about why we were carrying trash bags. After explaining our mission, she informed us of the Trail Karma initiative. This is a belief in passing on good karma to fellow travelers on America's trails in the form of pendants. On each pendant is a unique number so as the pendants are passed on to other hikers the path of the pendant can be tracked on All 3 of us were given a pendant and encouraged to pass the good karma along as we hiked. 

The first pendant was passed on to a man named Camel who, upon witnessing us pick up trash, began picking up trash himself. Not only that, but when we rendezvoused at camp he passed along a much appreciated IPA to each of us. If that's not good karma I don't know what is so I passed on my pendant. 

The next pendant was passed on to the fantastic hiker Fiddler on the Hoof. Not only does he offer up his talents most nights by playing the fiddle, but he was also so impressed by our mission that he actually began packing it out himself. Such a wonderful man who always lifts our spirits was an obvious candidate for Caps pendant. 

The last of our pendants was passed onto a hiker named Doubleback who not only bought lunch for all of us, but also assists us in picking up the trail by pointing out trash and accompanies Fiddler on the Hoof in duets. 
The whole concept of trail karma meshes quite well with our mission so it was very refreshing to be able to pass on the message to others who were inspired by our efforts. 

In mentioning all the good fortune above I'd be remiss if I didn't include the people who facilitate the proper disposal of the trash we packed out; carrying out the second half of our goal. There have been many long days where carrying over 15 pounds of trash would've been per near unmanageable if it weren't for the kind folks at the gaps willing to haul it away for us. Gary, Melissa, and Autumn Ellis from South Pittsburg, TN were kind enough to haul over 7 pounds away for us. Another thru hiker named GadgetMan was kind enough to haul over 6 pounds away for us yesterday from Clingmans Dome while on the way to pick up his dog. There are many more people we wish we could thank specifically but due to the nature of our hike are unable to. However, we'd love to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped us keep Americas trails beautiful thus far. 

Today is another wonderful example of how great things have been working out for us thus far. We were able to spend the night at Mt. Collins shelter with our great friend Josh Morris who not only hiked in with some cold beer but also drove us around Gatlinburg, TN all day. Thanks to him we were able to re supply and prepare ourselves for the next leg of our adventure. The Smokies have been breathtaking so far. We will be making our way out of them soon and heading to our next relaxation destination in Hot Spring, NC. 

Even though the past 4 days have been very wet and cold we are staying positive, and enjoying every second of the trail. Besides, we couldn't appreciate sunny days without the rainy ones. 

Thanks again to everyone for your continued support. Y'all are more inspiring than you realize. We look forward to sharing more from our adventure as we Pack It Out. 

Until next time, Goose! 


  1. Sounds like an amazing start to the journey ... thanks for the interesting update Paul and Joe!
    Love reading about the people you are meeting. Nice to see Josh, too!!


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