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About Me

March 18, 2015

Hey there!

My name is Jessica Mills and I am 28 years old.  Although I was born in Florida, I ‘grew up’ in Opelika, AL.  I spent the majority of my summers with my grandparents who were backyard gardeners that grew up on farms.  At a young age, I developed a love for the outdoors.  Watching TV is never a desire of mine, unless it i1235015_10102414913815221_3338492828396707051_ns football season–War Eagle!  I graduated from Auburn University in 2012 with a degree in Biosystems Engineering and a minor in Agronomy and Soils.

For a year and a half I was a resident of Colorado and it was an amazing experience! I have recently resigned from my job in Colorado. At the end of March, I plan to embark on a 2,000 mile adventure as I begin my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me:

Happy Trails 🙂


74 Discussion to this page

  1. Greg says:

    Hey! I have enjoyed watching some of your adventures on you tube… Keep it up! Wish I could just drop everything and go sometimes 🙂
    Go gators!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Greg! Haha, you can. Just plan it and do it!

      • Robert says:

        Hi Jessica

        Your videos are fantastic. Really inspiring stuff and you’re such a friendly enthusiastic and smart girl. Wish I could try the AT and PCT myself someday – but will be great fun to follow along with you on the journey. Rob

  2. Sonny says:


    I have been following your post on the AT for the past couple of months. Great to see you on your way to achieve such a lofty challenge. I appreciate your independence and drive to accomplish such a feat. I had a triple bypass 2 years ago and I will be 60 next month. I believe the age your dad would have been. And as a side note I have a daughter your age also. I have always followed the “correct path”. Following college I went into the USMC and then went into business and have always worked six days a week trying to support my family’s lifestyle and working hard as business demands. If I had set out to do the AT after college I don’t know if I could have ever settled into a confining lifestyle of personal responsibility that I have had for the past 40 years. Now I found myself wanting to do something really awesome such as you are right now. I have been secretly desiring to through hike the AT. And now A Walk in the Woods comes out this weekend and I feel its a sign for me to figure this out before its too late. So I have enjoyed living vicariously through your blogs and wish you the best of luck on the trail and where ever your life leads your from here.

  3. Mindy Crider says:

    Enjoyed the videos….. do you think you’ll ever do it again if Life allows? – you rocked on that trail 🙂

  4. Kevin Hoag says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventure ,you have inspired me to section hike the AT wish I could do a thru hike but that’s not possible.
    It’s been great watching you on the trail. You Go Girl😎

    • Jessica says:

      Kevin, I think section hiking the trail will be just as, if not more, rewarding! It allows you to spend more time in a specific section and really enjoy it. I’m so glad to hear you are doing it–yay for you! If you have any questions, let me know.

  5. Fred Rose says:

    I have not seen an update for a while. I hope you doing find and still going strong.


  6. Paul Liberty says:

    Glad to see you made the decision to take a zero day and wait until the weather broke, that was a lot of rain! Once you get through the Bigelows you’ll be able to get some 20+ days in. Here’s to your “Lucky Moose” keeping you safe and seeing you through to your journey’s end both physically and mentally. Be well!


    • Jessica says:

      Hey Paul! Yeah, there is still a ton of water on the trail so I can’t imagine how bad it was that day. Apparently 3 were air lifted from the 100 mile wilderness because they were stranded. Eek! It was great meeting yall! Thanks again for lifting my spirits. My lucky Moose can’t wait to get to Katahdin…and neither can I! Glad you found my blog. Keep in touch!

  7. Kate says:

    Hi! I really love watching your videos. I’m a city gal(NYC) but I’ve always loved the outdoors. I really appreciate your videos as they show me what really to expect while hiking intense trails. It’s also really nice to follow everyone in the videos. Safe travels 🙂

  8. Mike Terry says:

    Hey Jessica. I’ve been watching your videos from almost the beginning. You are a true inspiration and have lit a fire up under some 4th points of contact. I just watched update 38 and you seem down. We are all rooting for you. Keep your head up and keep on trucking. It will be great to watch you summit. Be safe.

  9. Dwayne Page says:

    Jessica, you should be an outdoor host for a television show. Please publish your AT adventure as a book or write a screenplay for a movie. Your video posts are many times better than A Walk in the Woodsl Thank you for sharing this part of your life with the rest of us. It will always be appreciated!

  10. Donald N. Windsor aka SALTY DOG says:

    Way to go girl !! Chin up & head down. Let the tears flo. It’s all good. You’re 1 tough cookie 🙂 !!

  11. Bob LaForge says:

    Hi Jessica,
    I would like to congratulate you on completing your AT thru hike and tell you how much I’ve enjoyed following your videos. You have helped inspire me to continue my section hikes all the way to Katahdin.

  12. Donald N. Windsor aka SALTY DOG says:

    Congrats on your summit!! Much different from mine( I summited 8/15) You are now and forever one tough girl. SALTY DOG

  13. David says:

    Very entertaining Will join your thru hikers club one day (Lord willing ) congrats !

  14. mark deevey says:

    hello Jessica, I really enjoyed your youtube channel,thanks .Theres lots of good hiking trails in Canada you should try, enjoy life…….. Mark

  15. Bill says:

    Brilliant videos, my wife and I binged watch them during the winter storm this weekend from chili south Florida. Loved your unpretentious advice and genuine emotion, congrats to Whitney on the production. My adult children joined me for sections of the John Muir and High Sierra trails this past summer and hope you can at least get a section in during 2016. Looking forward to your PCT videos, set up a fund my hike site so your fans can support your next thru hike… Love Buddha Bill and Mountain Laurel.

    • Jessica says:

      Hey there! Great to hear from y’all and thank you for your kind words. I am going to set up a patreon page to link to my blog and vlog. Hopefully I can raise enough to hit the PCT by 2017. I would love to also do the John Muir. I bet that was great to do and enjoy with your children.

  16. Michael White says:


    Just a note to let you know how much I have enjoyed watching your AT adventure. I discovered your YouTube channel as a result of looking for gear to assist in planning for some section hiking of the Florida Trail in 2016. I guess I was drawn to your videos for a couple of reasons, 1 . You sound exactly like my daughter-in-law who is from Cumming Ga. And 2. I once attended Auburn for 2 weeks (long story) lol.
    I do have a question. My wife and I have about a 10 day window in May and may tackle a Section of the AT, we are in Florida within easy driving distance of the southern half. If you only had 10 days what would you choose to hike ?


    • Jessica says:

      Hey there! That’s sounds awesome. I would love to do some of the Florida Trail. Let me know how it goes. As far as your question about the AT…McAfee Knob is very pretty and you could do a 2 day stretch from Catawba, VA to Daleville, VA. Checkout update #13. Maybe also do the Grayson Highlands and Mt. Rogers (the high point of VA). For that check out update #10. Maybe you could mix the two given you have 10 days. If you want to go more southern…you could do the entire smoky mountains! Those are all 3 beautiful sections of the AT. Let me know what y’all decide.

  17. Robin Armes says:

    Just watched all of your vlogs…SO inspiring!!! Want to take my daughter and section hike. It really got us excited to get out there. I noticed that you started with a hammock and tarp, which is my plan. I’ve used it on short hikes and have been comfortable but want to make sure I’m prepared for a longer hike. What made you switch to a tent? I would love to hear your opinion since you experienced both. Thanks again for sharing your adventure with us.☺️

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Robin! I swapped to the tent because it was lighter and I like to be able to cook while laying down in my sleeping bag. I can even do so while raining under my vestibule. I like being able to change clothes in my tent. It’s all about personal preference! I know lots of people who hammock camped the whole AT. Glad to hear you and your daughter are hitting the trail soon! Happy Trails 🙂

  18. Fin says:

    What did you use for a food bag? What method was used most often for bear bagging?

  19. Scott says:

    Hi Jessica – I absolutely loved the YouTube videos, the journey looks amazing! I am actually just moved down to the Charlotte NC for work(and selfishly to be closer to the mountains) and was wondering if you knew of any hiking groups down there that i could link up with. I am also planning on Thru-hiking the AT March 2017. My biggest concern (aside from the unknown!) is after the hike. What is life like after the AT? In other words is it hard coming back to the work lifestyle again?

  20. Chad says:

    I live in Alabama. Have you ever hiked the Pinhoti? What are your favorite trails in Alabama?

  21. Tom says:

    Hello Jessica, I’ve been watching you you tube video about the AT. I’ve always have wanted to do it so now i’m going to, hopefully March 2107. I live in Naples FL and am going to get prepared on the Florida Trail. Did you do any preparing before your adventure? also how many day food supply should I have at all times? Thank You Tom (trail Name will be TBone)

    • Jessica says:

      Hey there! I did not do any prepping other than day hikes. But, I would recommend it just because it will help you feel more confident in your abilities when you get out there. It’s always a good idea to test your gear! The amount of food will depend on how far away each town is. I never carried more than 7 days of food. Usually closer to 3-5. I would recommend AWOL’s Guide Book for mileages. Thank you for following along and let me know if you have any more questions!

  22. Tom says:

    Thank you for your reply. 🙂

  23. Hi Jessica,
    Thanks for posting the videos of your hike. You did a very good job, and provide great detail. You are very interesting to listen to, and if you write a book (you mentioned an e-book) I’d love to read it.
    Your gear video is very informative, and I plan to review it with my daughter, Joy, who has been bitten by the AT Hiking bug. We did a few hikes around Grafton Notch, Maine last year (we live in South Paris, Maine), and she fell in love with hiking. I now have a new hiking partner. :o)
    I looked for the link to your gear list, but did n’t see it anywhere. I’ll check back soon, because I might have missed it.
    Thanks again for sharing your information.

    Gary F.
    PS (If I’m allowed to choose my own trail name, it will likely be ‘Stover’ – my deceased son’s (Russell) nickname – as in Russell ‘Stover’ candies).

    • Jessica says:

      Hey there, Stover! You can absolutely choose your own name. And what a wonderful way to honor your son. Thank you for reminding me that I never posted my list! I will get on that immediately. I think it’s wonderful that y’all have been out on the AT. Once it gets in your blood, it’s there for life. I’m still working on the e-book, but will hopefully be done soon! Thank you for visiting the blog and vlog. If you have any questions, let me know!

  24. John says:

    Hi Jessica,

    I really enjoyed following along on your AT trip. I’m curious to know how you made out with respect to deer ticks and Lyme disease. I’m a day hiker in NJ and am considering doing some section hiking, but a friend got Lyme disease and still suffers greatly from it, so I’m a bit freaked out. Here in the northeast it is really common. It would seem almost unavoidable when thru hiking the AT. Also, bears in NJ are usually really common. How did you make out with the bears? Thanks.

    • Jessica says:

      Hey John! Thank you 🙂

      I only had 2 ticks on or near me that I saw. One was crawling up my leg (not attached) and the other was on my pack. I had no issues. However, I know people who did. I don’t prefer to treat my body or gear with poison, but it is an option. Just personal preference.

      As far as bears go, I definitely ran across an aggressive one. I saw 7 total and only had issues with one. Most people did not have a negative experience. Read up on bear safety and how to react when you see one. It really depends on the situation, though. Just NEVER approach or run from a bear. Let it know when you see it and you are in its presence. Try to appear big…not like you are scared. But, don’t be overly aggressive, either.

      Hope that helps!

  25. Hello Jessica,
    My name is Jeremy Britto, I am an affiliate account representative at AvantLink. I recently came across your application in our pending files and wanted to reach out to see if you were still interested in joining the AvantLink affiliate network.
    If so, please reply to this message indicating your application ID [336818] and with copy reading “I’m excited to work with AvantLink!”
    Thank you for your interest in our network!

    • Jessica says:

      Jeremy, yes! I am still interested. I couldn’t get it to work before for some reason. Anyway, here is what you requested:

      “I’m Excited to work with AvantLink!:

      Thanks for contacting me.

  26. Jeremy says:

    Just got introduced to your AT vlog. Very informative!!! Loved the gear reviews. I’ve always wanted to hike the AT. Just something about it that I want to conquer. Only have one hike thru trail here in Texas. It’s flat and wanders through a national forest. Hiking the AT would be a completely different animal from the physical standpoint, logistics and the amount of time one would need to complete it. Being an Aggie, I don’t want to be hiking the AT during football season 👍🏻. Again, thanks for such an informative vlog on the AT! I am definitely using your vlog when I plan my AT hike.

  27. Rhonda says:

    You are my inspiration to follow my dream and love. I grew up in Tennessee and spent many of hours in the Great Smoky Mountains hiking the trails. Many of those trails crossed the AT and I always wondered about the experiences people were having on that trail, but never had the chance to hike any of it before my family moved to Ohio. I get to Tennessee as often as I can with my husband and still have that urge to hike the AT. Finally after running across your youtube videos and getting hooked on your adventure, reading many books about the AT. I have told my husband that within 5 years I’m hiking the AT as a thru hiker. He only wants to do sections, but that’s fine, he can and I’ll see him on his next section.
    Thank You for sharing your experiences on the AT.

  28. Matt says:

    Hi Jessica, I recently lost 50 pounds thru diet and exercise and have been doing small 2 and 3 day hikes here in Kentucky. Because of my job I can’t do a full thru hike of the trail but I could do up to 3 weeks at a time every year. Do you think its worth it, breaking it up like that?

  29. REB says:

    I just finished watching your entire AT hike on my time up here in Sylva, NC. What a pleasure. Can you please share what you used to do all the wonderful filming and how you recharged?

  30. John Roszel says:

    Hey Dixie, I wanted to let you know that you’ve re-ignited a desire that my wife and I used to share. We spent many days tent camping in her home state of Colorado, (as well as my less adventurous home of KS) and had hiked with packs, a number of Colorado’s 14ers, but bad never done any overnight backpacking. We had aspirations, however, of thru hiking the AT. Unfortunately, in 2012 at the young age of 33, she was killed by an intoxicated driver. We had purchased a couple of cheap backpacking packs…but still had not used them to their fullest. They’ve been in storage since her passing. I stumbled across your vids. You remind me of her in many ways. Seeing you conquer a lifelong dream inspired me to revisit some of those that she and I shared. I’ve dusted the cobwebs off of those cheap packs, and am planning on doing some short trips in Colorado next year with some family members. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless, and keep it up!

  31. Vic Sorenson says:

    What camera do you use for your videos? Thanks

  32. Rick White says:

    After watching at least 40 of the 43 vlogs of your AT thru-hike, I wanted to let you know I found them entertaining, informative and inspirational. I live in Oklahoma, a long way from any point on the AT, but for 4 long years, I lived about 15 miles north of the lowest elevation on the Trail (Bear Mountain Bridge). I graduated from West Point in 1992; I got a kick out of the update where you visited the Academy. Was the building with the flags and memorials Cullum Hall? How did you get on the field at Michie Stadium?? You must know people. Or maybe someone in the Athletic Dept is a Youtube fan?? Or is Rebel Yell secretly an Army grad??

    Thanks for helping people think bigger than themselves and their circumstances. You’ve got me pondering how I can get away from my job for 6 months. 😊

    Hope to hear back from you.

    Rick White

  33. Lawrence says:

    I have enjoyed watching your videos during my preparation of hopefully doing the AT myself

  34. Johnny M says:


    Loving you your you tube stuff really useful. I’m UK based and seriously considering taking out some time and doing the AT or may the PCT. Found your stuff good. I’m moving from boots to trail shoes so be interesting to see how that works. Just a suggestion. If you haven’t replaced your poles yet, take a look at pacer poles, designed by a physio, really good poles.

  35. Rich says:

    Hi Dixie,
    Growing up in NJ and camping and hiking in NY, NJ,PA and Maine I learned of the AT at an early age. Through hiking the AT has always been a dream of mine. Of course life can get in the way and it has but I never gave up on it and when I came accross your story I followed it and lived it vicariously through you as you set out and conquered your challenge. I am still going to through hike and I wanted to thank you for re-kindling the spark. I look forward to you hiking the PCT! God Bless

  36. Leo Wolf says:

    Hey Jessica:
    I’ve got a idea for a new video.
    How about one on vlogging. Cameras people use. Programs and the processes that a person would have to go through from start to finish. Like taking the pictures downloading to a computer editing, then uploading to the you tube. Just an idea, I’m interested in how this was done.
    Videos were great….
    I’m interested in helping hikers on the trail out. Do you have any ideas?

  37. Quang says:

    Hey Jess-

    My wife and I enjoyed following your journey. Ever thought about doing the Pacific Crest Trail here in the Westcoast?

  38. Hello H. W. Dixie,

    Just returned to watch a couple portions of your recent vids after watching a couple of yours after your A.T. completion. I’m happy to see your transformation taking place, which I commented on back then. You see Jessica, it’s not really “wanderlust”, it’s an awesome awakening! It’s a “coming back alive” journey you’re experiencing and I see your enthusiasm growing, along with your confidence. You look and sound so much better than your A.T. start video at Springer Mt.

    One comment though, instead of searching something to fall back on, one should seek a good goal, and there truly is just only one…..

  39. WEDGE says:

    Dixie, Really liked the ‘Do You Need a Gun on the Appalachian Trail?’ video. Alot of common sense and the obvious need of personal responsibility brought to the fore. A person’s personal protection and safety IS their own responsibility. You touched upon the laws in each state and for further research. Plus, using the good judgement the Lord gave us (my paraphrasing).

    I hope and pray one day my back will be well enough to hike the AT-your videos and explanation really bring out the beauty. Thank you so much for sharing!

  40. Brian says:

    Caught your videos on YouTube. You’ve given me the idea for what might be my last great adventure. Assuming I’m still physically able when I retire, I may give this a try. Thank you and good luck on your next trip.

  41. Jessica, I just wanted to let you know that I was very inspired by your video Cross the Line. I shared it on my Facebook and directly with my family members. For several decades I have wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. I just turned 59 years old last month. I finally decided I’m going to do it this spring. My 13 year old son is going with me. All of my family is solidly behind us and giving us tons of encouragement. I know this will probably be the most difficult thing we’ve ever done in our lives . Both for those of us who are on the trail and those who are staying behind at home . We have a very tight-knit family I know it will be difficult not seeing them for such a long period of time . The longest I’ve ever been away from my family is 2 weeks . I’m sure five or six months will feel like an eternity but we’re going to do it . Thank you for your inspiration .

    • Jessica says:

      Allen, thank you so much for sharing this story with me! I’m so glad to hear you have a good support system behind you. Way to go for deciding to go for it–cross the line!! 🙂 If you have any questions during your preparation let me know. Your world is about to change!

  42. patrick boutette says:

    Jessica, please pay attention to the building snowpack in the Sierras. Over the past few years, there has been a ‘snow-free’ corridor for much of the PCT, and world-class, experiences hikers have still encountered life threatening conditions. I fear that your confidence and determination will over ride common sense. Please, don’t let commitments to sponsors and friends put your life in jeopardy. We all need you to be there for us in the future.
    youtube fan

  43. Rich b says:

    I just wanted to thank you. I got out of the military earlier this year and started drinking a lot and had kind of given up. Hiking the AT and moving out west have always been two of my biggest dreams and you made it look so easy I figured hell, maybe I can do it. Now I’m saving for a 2018 thru hike and have contacted Montana state university and started the application process to use my GI bill to go to school out west. Life’s still not perfect but I have so much to look forward to now. Sorry if this sounds crazy but I just had to tell you the difference you made in my life.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you for sharing this with me! I’m so glad you are turning things around for yourself. You are the only one who controls your life–might as well make it what you want it to be 🙂 Happy trails to you and good luck with school!!

  44. CDJ says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, I’m the Scoutmaster for a Troop in SE TN and champion backpacking as much as I can. After having a knee replacement the dream of a thru hike on the AT is fading but, I have a few more section hikes left in me! We kick around the idea of a 50 miler for the Troop every year and hope it happens in 2018. If you are ever in the Chattanooga area on a Monday night around 7pm, you are always welcome to stop by to encourage the boys about the virtues of the wilderness and back packing! I am going to post your links to our site. Maybe a couple of them will get the itch.

    • Jessica says:

      Awww, thank you so much! If y’all decide to do that trek and you have any questions please let me know 🙂 That would be such a wonderful memory for all of you!

  45. Juan says:

    #trailmiracle I have no idea what your journey was pre-AT and I have no idea if this is an actual trail term, but from recently following your posts it seems with your first steps on Springer Mtn in 2015 you had a Trail Miracle. Thanks for sharing your story, Hike On!

  46. Scott Hinckley says:

    This may be a question for both you & your video editor. Will you be taking a micro drone along with you on the PCT?

  47. Mike Bauer says:

    Hi Dixie
    I’m a 65 yo AT hiker… Started a flip flop last summer and made it about 2/3 thru before colder weather made me decide to stop for the season . Looking forward to finishing up this season if possible. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed preparing for my hike by watching your videos and still like following them !
    Invite you to look at my blog at
    God luck with PCT
    White Cloud

    • Jessica says:

      Mike! Thank you for sharing. i’m glad to hear you will get back out there and finish up this year! CONGRATS! Let me know how it goes 🙂 When do you set out again?

  48. Evan says:

    Dixie–2 items:
    -I left a comment on one of your wonderful videos about a good friend/Trail Angel who lives with her husband near Campo, CA. Her name is Grace, and I forwarded one of your videos for her to view. She wrote back that they are “always welcoming Thru Hikers here at border base”. Shoot me an email if you want her contact info. I recall a posting where you stated that you didn’t want to just get off the plane and start hiking. Grace and Scott would provide a good transition.
    -I visited your donation site, but I would like to make a “One Time” donation. I didn’t see that option–is it available?
    Thanks, Evan AKA Edog AKA Mr. Clean

    • Jessica says:

      Wow, Evan, thank you VERY much! This might be something I seriously consider. It’s amazing how kind folks are in the hiking community 🙂 I appreciate your offer to help support my journey–there is a one time option through paypal. As far as I know, all you will have to have is my email which is: Also, I believe there is still and option through youtube on the front page of my channel. You’ll see a blue ‘support’ button on the right if you scroll down just a little.

      Thanks again for everything!

      Dixie 🙂

  49. Evan says:

    RE: One Time Donation…..Done! I used the “Support” button on your YouTube homepage, which accepts a Visa or Debit. Thanks for pointing that method out!

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