Hi, we are Chica & Sunsets, and we are on the adventurous path to operating a hiker hostel! We thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2017 and then walked Spain’s Camino de Santiago in 2018. We have a passion for the outdoors and for those who share similar aspirations.

The Appalachian Trail (AT) will always have a special place in our hearts. It was the hardest and most challenging thing either of us have ever done, and also the experience and adventure of a lifetime! One way to stay connected to the backpacking community is by running a hostel – we will get to meet current hikers, help with advice, and give them a nice place to stay and regroup for the night.

The AT is a 2200-mile trail from Georgia to Maine that goes through 14 states in the eastern USA. While hikers spend the majority of their time living in the woods, they occasionally go into trail towns to stay in a hostel and take showers, do laundry, resupply their food and sleep in a real bed. 

We want to be one of these hostels, specifically in the town of Franklin, NC (mile 110 of the trail if you are hiking north-bound) and could use your help.

HOSTILE TO HOSTEL

Our idea of a hostel was born from a game we played to help pass the time on our Appalachian Trail journey. We would try to verbally create the “worst hostel to ever exist” using only amenities experienced at hostels we stayed at. 

As our six-month journey was coming to an end we started talking about running a hostel ourselves and began taking those negatives and creating a hostel that was less hostile. Those new positive ideas have become the backbone of the environment we would like to provide to travelers, and will include things like:

  • A hiker to bathroom ratio of 4:1. This as opposed to, say, 15 hikers sharing one bathroom (oh, and at that special hostel the shower was located in the bathroom with the toilet – hope you didn’t have the Mexican food).
  • A bed that is NOT a bunk bed. Hiking as a couple in our mid-40’s, bunk beds had zero allure. We get it, bunk beds are a way to maximize available space. However, for us, each night at a hostel was preceded by an emotionally grueling game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The loser slept on the top bunk. 
  • A home-cooked breakfast (vs. cold cereal or nothing at all).
  • An all-inclusive price (vs. one price for a bunk, another $5 for laundry, another $10 for breakfast, etc…).
  • Your very own charging outlet by your bed!
  • Space around your bed to put your pack and spread out.
  • A comfy bed with clean sheets and blankets.
  • A full kitchen to prepare your own dinner if so desired.
  • A small hostel for up to 4 hikers with spread-out beds (vs. one room with 25 hikers packed into it). We plan to have 2 bedrooms with 2 beds in each room, plus a kitchen and living room.
  • Reliable and fast WiFi (need to upload a YouTube video? No problem!).

No one starts a hostel to get rich, much less to provide much of an income. Hostels are truly a labor of love and we are going to love being involved with the outdoor community and supporting their efforts regardless of their goals. We know how to support hikers because we are hikers. 

WHERE WILL THE HOSTEL BE?

We have recently settled in the Western North Carolina trail town of Franklin. Franklin is a haven for outdoor activities including hiking, cycling, and fly-fishing. The town is close to the Appalachian Trail (mile 110), the Bartram Trail, and the Benton Mackaye Trail. Franklin boasts two breweries and two outfitters along with multiple stores for resupplying. 

Franklin, NC

We have found the perfect house – scratch that – the perfect BONES of a house, that includes living quarters for us upstairs and the ideal set up for a separate hostel downstairs. We closed on the house at the end of May and since then have been putting hard work into fixing it up. In addition to purchasing the home, we have put money into a new roof and gutters and have spent 100’s of hours cleaning, stripping, sanding, and painting. 

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO USE THE MONEY FOR?

We are selling goods and services (i.e. hostel stays, our books and jewelry, etc. — see below) to raise enough funds ($5,000 is our goal) so that we can be open for the 2020 hiker season. We’ve had lots of interest from people about our hostel, and we thought this would be a good way to allow you to be a part of our adventure and stay updated with our progress. 

Every single dollar we make through this will go into our hostel.

Neither of us shy away from hard work – how else do you hike 2,200 miles – but there are some things that are beyond the scope of elbow-grease and paint. Among other things, the HELP CREATE CHICA & SUNSETS’ HOSTEL campaign will fund:

  • Combining and upgrading electrical panels and bringing all electrical functions up to code.
  • Taking down two precariously leaning very tall (50 foot’ish) trees.
  • Tearing out carpet and replacing with vinyl wood-plank flooring. 
  • Replacing windows.
  • Shoring-up/replacing dilapidated stairs to deck. 
  • Cleaning, striping, sanding, painting … repeat … repeat … repeat.
  • And o’ so much more. 

WHY THIS PLATFORM?

We are crowd-sourcing a bit differently than how it is typically done. We initially were going to use Go Fund Me, but soon realized they no longer supported reward gifts for donors, and this was a BIG PART of what we wanted our campaign to include. We didn’t want to ask for a handout, we wanted to provide something of value in exchange for cash to complete these last few projects.

Basically you will be buying a good or service to help fund our new adventure. It’s a win/win – we get help from you, and you get a reward gift from us along with the satisfaction of being a part of creating our hostel!

We hope you will join us on this next great adventure of ours. And if you find yourself in Franklin, give us a shout. THANK YOU!

REWARDS FOR DONATION LEVELS:
All donors, regardless of level, will have their names displayed prominently and perpetually on a wall in our hostel.

$5 — Five Dollar Fist Bump

Progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

____________________________________

$25 — Book or Beads

Your choice of either an AT inspired handmade piece of jewelry by Chica OR one of our signed hiking books* (Chicas on the Appalachian TrailThru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail 100 Tips, or Walking the Camino de Santiago Francés 100 Tips). Includes progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

*PLEASE SPECIFY in the comment section of PayPal if you want a book (which one?) OR a piece of AT jewelry (bracelet or keyring?).

____________________________________

$50Hostel Holiday (1-Night Stay, 1 Guest)

SOLD OUT – thank you!

One night stay at our hostel for one person with full amenities (breakfast, pick up and drop off at trailhead, laundry, shuttle to town for resupply) and additionally includes dinner. Can be for anytime of the year, scheduled in advance (hostel will be open in mid-February 2020 if our goal is met). Includes progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

____________________________________

$100 — Fact Finding Facetime Call

A 1-hour Facetime or Skype video call, for planning a thru-hike or pack shake-down. Any topic or questions you want to ask us relating to any of our travels or any advice we can give you about hiking. Includes progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

____________________________________

$250 — Slack-Packer Stay (2-Nights Stay, 1-4 Guests)

Stay at Chica & Sunsets’ cozy hostel nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Franklin, NC for 2 nights and up to 4 guests (you will have the whole downstairs to yourselves). We will shuttle you to and from the trail each day, but otherwise you are on your own. To be scheduled in non-thru-hiker season*. Includes progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

LIMITED:  4 left
* Thru-Hiker Season starts Mid-February, 2020 – end of May, 2020. Non-thru-hiker season is anytime after end of May until early February of the next year.

____________________________________

$500 — Day-hiking Delight with Chica & Sunsets (2 Nights Stay, 1-2 Guests)

Stay at Chica & Sunsets’ cozy hostel nestled in the Great Smoky  Mountains of Franklin, NC for 2 nights and up to 2 guests. Includes 2 days of day-hiking on any local trails with Chica and Sunsets (ask us anything!), as well as breakfast, laundry, and dinner at the hostel. To be scheduled in non-thru-hiker season*. Includes progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

LIMITED:  only 1 left!
* Thru-Hiker Season starts Mid-February, 2020 – end of May, 2020. Non-thru-hiker season is anytime after end of May until early February of the next year.

____________________________________

$1,000 — Ultimate Hiking Extravaganza Weekend with Chica & Sunsets (4 nights, 3 hiking days, 1-2 Guests)

Includes 2 nights stay in Chica & Sunsets’ Hostel, 3 days of hiking on the AT + 2 over-nights in the woods with Chica and Sunsets.* We will be available on the hike for any advice, pack shake-downs, anything you want to ask us or need help with! Practice throwing your bear bag, putting up your tent, using Guthooks, etc. Includes breakfast, laundry, and dinner for the time you are at the hostel. To be scheduled in non-thru-hiker season**. Includes progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

LIMITED:  only 3 left!
*You must bring your own hiking gear and shelter.
** Thru-Hiker Season starts mid-February, 2020 – end of May, 2020. Non-thru-hiker season is anytime after end of May until early February of the next year.

____________________________________

$______ — Fill In The Blank 

Give whatever amount you want! You will receive progress updates of the hostel, as well as our everlasting thanks.

LIMITED: just kidding, no limit.

____________________________________

The above “pay now” buttons will take you to PayPal – please make sure your email address is up to date on PayPal so we can contact you for your gift reward!

THANK YOU!! — Chica & Sunsets

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join us as we hike long trails, live simply, and enjoy life. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!