“Jester” Section Hiker:

Julie “Jester” Gayheart completed the Appalachian Trail in July 2017 after 12 summers of section hiking.  Julie is an educator by day and hiker at heart.  Jester loves to talk trail and on this podcast you will hear amazing stories and experiences from other section hikers with a love for the trail and passion for hiking.

Julie “Jester” Gayheart

Ever since she was a small girl growing up in Ohio; Julie has been intrigued by the Appalachian Trail.  She and her Dad would have many conversations and dreams about hiking the AT.

Julie; who lives in Charlotte, NC is a high school educator and with summers off, she found she could work on her pursuit of the dream.

So, in 2006; Jester, loaded up her pack, put on her boots and set off on a 2,189 mile journey.

For the next 12 summers, she would venture out to the trail and hike; some times only for a week, other times for multiple weeks and hundreds of miles. Sometimes with people; sometimes by herself.  She soon turned into a “serial section hiker”.

As she hiked she learned hiking “do’s and don’ts”, and felt both the pain and joy of conquering a trail filled with beauty, difficulties beyond words; swollen feet; rain soaked days, cold nights, hot days and how coming into a town and eating pizza can be simply incredible. 

Along the way she also learned that just about every hiker has an amazing story and with this podcast she now has the great opportunity to share section hikers stories with the listeners.

Jester is currently in the process of completing her second section hike of the Appalachian Trail with about 700 miles left to go. She has also hiked the Art Loeb Trail, the Foothills Trail, The Narrows in Utah, Yosemite’s Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest, and most recently completed Mt. Ranier’s Wonderland Trail. 

She and her Dad also hiked 80 miles together on the AT in Maine.

On any given weekend you can find her hiking in the Black Mountains of NC, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, chasing fire towers along the Blue Ridge Mountain Range or her favorite local spot, Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.  

And if you were to ask her why she chose to hike she will simply tell you, “because on the trail, I am the best version of myself”.