Appalachia, Here they come

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2008


  Former SoHi and KPC grad Judy Hepner will hike to 2,174 mile Appalachian trail this summer to raise funds to cure diabetes.

Former SoHi and KPC grad Judy Hepner will hike to 2,174 mile Appalachian trail this summer to raise funds to cure diabetes.

Judy Hepner and her dog Buddy are on their way to Georgia to begin a 2,174 mile hike to Maine along the Appalachian Trail in hopes of bringing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation closer to a cure, as well as raising some funds for DreamPower Animal Rescue. “I’m walking for the Research Foundation because my family has a history of Diabetes and it affects millions of people around the world, and Buddy is hiking for Animal Rescue because he was a pound puppy. DreamPower provides adoption services for not only cats and dogs, but horses, ferrets, rabbits, and the like! They also offer educational programs and health services for the animals in their care,” explained Judy.

The 27-year-old Hepner, originally from Soldotna, graduated from SoHi and KPC, then earned her engineering degree from Montana State and has recently been working as a civil engineer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I’m kind of working my way back home, but first I want to raise some funds to help people by walking the Appalachian Trail. Then if I can find a job I hope to return to Soldotna permanently. On the walk Buddy and I hope to raise a dollar per mile or $2,000 for each organization. 100% of the contributions will go to the charities; in fact we are asking that all donations be sent directly to the respective organizations at the completion of the hike. None of the funds we raise will be used for our travel expenses,” said Hepner. The hike is expected to take between six to nine months commencing this spring and finishing in Maine by fall.

Judy is also a professional photographer and will be posting updates of her and Buddy’s travels on her website at . According to Hepner Buddy is a nine-year-old Border collie / Australian Shepherd mix, originally from Missouri, “His pass-times are chasing squirrels and harassing the neighbor's cats. He looks forward to traumatizing squirrels all along the east coast,” says Hepner. Judy and Buddy will be arriving in Georgia to begin their trek very shortly but may be reached by email at Once they begin their journey , you'll also be able to leave comments on their journal entries. When Judy and Buddy are on the trail, they will not be able to answer email or comments regularly, but your messages will be passed along to them. To learn more about Judy and Buddy’s walk for charity or to fill out a contribution form visit their website at

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