Kristen Musselman recently was called Devils Backbone imminent Company’s chef hiking officer, a six-month place that will have actually her top top trails up and also down the eastern Coast.

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LYNCHBURG — Kristen Musselman has long to be a huge believer in the wellness benefits of safety time outside.


A northern Virginia native, Musselman has actually spent most of her life enjoy it nature. She thrived up through easy access to the nearly 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail and also rediscovered she love of nature while she was an undergraduate in ~ the college of Virginia.


Her very first year, she took a club expedition to big Bend nationwide Park that “really just transformed my check out of myself and also my watch of the means I can connect with other people and nature.”


She at some point moved come Colorado, whereby she became a wilderness therapy ar guide and additionally worked for a suicide prevention program before learning the a new position at Devils Backbone impending Company, bringing her ago to her Virginia roots.


This summer, Nelson County-based Devils Backbone introduced Musselman together its chief hiking officer, a six-month task that requires hiking thousands of miles that trails along the east Coast.


Already with 6 weeks under she belt, Musselman will spend the following several month making her way up and down the east Coast, long a goal of 2,000 mile of lesser-traveled trails. Rather than sticking to the original arrangement of law a thru-hike — travel from end-to-end repetitively — the the Appalachian Trail, the company pivoted in light of safety and also public wellness measures.


Musselman will instead tackle the Appalachian trace in pieces, among the various other trails she will contact home till late August.


“I type of have the complimentary reins to decide what trails I want to it is in on every day and also how to really build this trip,” she said.


Depending on the day, Musselman states she could hike almost everywhere from 2 to 10 hours per day. Or she may take a remainder day.


In addition to hiking and camping, Musselman will certainly be taking video clip and photos because that the brewery. There also will be an educational component to her content, showing exactly how to set up shelters, prepare because that emergencies and also practice great environmental defense principles.


“Some of my big-picture objectives is how deserve to we get more people external to access benefits the outdoors and how deserve to we talk around how security time external really services our own psychological health and also wellbeing,” Musselman said.


She likewise has a score of connecting through others while the end on the trail. Musselman stated this to be the “perfect opportunity” for her.


“The large thing the appealed come me was obtaining to spend an ext time in ~ my very own roots. I’ve constantly wanted come thru-hike the and also I believed why not carry out it in 2021, this year would certainly be the perfect year to do that,” Musselman said.


Hayes Humphries, COO of Devils Backbone, said the motivation behind the place was to paper and re-superstructure the experience of connecting through nature and also share the stories of exactly how people readjust throughout your wilderness adventures.


“We really want to try and fiddle that suffer that we had actually watching civilization take top top this adventure and also transform and also be maybe to do that more accessible to much more people and also share that adventure with a more comprehensive audience,” Humphries said.


Humphries said the team received much more than a 1,000 applications for the position, however what collection Musselman personal was she love of the outdoors from a young age and her dedicated skills in the wilderness.


While there space no heavy plans because that the place in the future, Humphries said Devils Backbone — tucked away in the foothills the the Blue Ridge hills — has made a meeting to be a steward of ecological causes, and Musselman will certainly be documenting the prominence of those causes.

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For those who want to dominate their own solo hikes, Musselman, who is tackling the next few months alone, stated she recommends starting with smaller hikes surrounded by “people that know more than you” do. But at a details point, she claimed it was vital to jump turn off the deep end.


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