the Fasted Known Time attempt in the Great Smokey Mountains

In July my husband and I enjoyed a weekend away at The Swag for a belated honeymoon. While there we met an amazing woman, Nancy East, who was guiding some hikes for guests. At the last minute we decided to join her, and we are very glad we did! 

Over the weekend we learned about her upcoming Fasted Known Time (FKT) attempt. She and her hiking partner are trying to beat several records for the FKT of hiking every single trail in Great Smokey Mountains Natural Park. To do so they have to hike them all within a month! Within a few weeks of departure, Nancy slipped on a hike, which led to a last minute arm surgery. So she will be doing this attempt while injured. I still think she will beat the record and get the new FKT!!!

The reason I am telling you this is first so that you can follow her journey and also because she bought my Love for Linda pendant to accompany her on it.

Her words from a recent Instagram post say it best...

"Recently, Kate created this pendant in honor of her mother and the courageous battle she’s fighting. Proceeds from the sales go towards pancreatic cancer research.

As soon as I saw it, I ordered one for myself. You see, the rooster is also a symbol of my late mother.

Like all of us, my mom had her vices. Hers came in the form of an icy flavored concoction sold at convenience stores called “Rooster Booster.” She mixed it with soda in some secret ratio and sipped it with a coffee stirrer, to make it last all day.

Mama was a health nut otherwise—she never smoked a cigarette in her life and rarely drank an alcoholic beverage. Rooster Booster was the magic elixir for what ailed her though.

Shortly before she died, she was incredibly frail. After receiving news from her doctor that her treatment options had run dry, Mama wanted to stop at a gas station to get her beloved drink. She could barely walk by this point, but she refused any type of assistance.

Undoubtedly, she wanted the effort to symbolize her unwillingness to allow cancer to wreck her spirit, despite the inevitable toll it was taking on her body.

After she bought her drink, she couldn’t hoist herself back into the car. A stranger noticed and offered to help. He was dressed in all white clothing, a stark contrast to his beautiful black skin. He swooped her up and gently placed her into my aunt’s minivan. He then prayed over her, “Lord, take care of my sister, please, and heal her.”

He quietly walked away after my aunt thanked him. She put my mom’s seatbelt on and turned back to look at him one last time, but he was gone.

I will wear this pendant throughout my FKT attempt. The chain that Kate gifted me with allows it to fall at the level of my heart—the perfect place to remember the resiliency of my own mother, of Kate’s mom, and especially of Susan Clements, @eliza_beth_clem’s mom, for whom this entire journey is dedicated." - Nancy East

I hope this story brings you a little inspiration! It definitely did for me. As an artist I try honor nature in my own way. That is also what Nancy is doing in her adventure. Good luck to Nancy! I cannot wait to hear about it!