Mainstreams: Rogers woman will hike Appalachian Trail

by Aaron Brom
Sun Press Newspapers

Trisha Sisto, of Rogers, tests her hiking gear at Henry Woods Park in Rogers. She began the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail April 8 in honor of her mother-in-law who died from domestic violence.
Trisha Sisto, of Rogers, tests her hiking gear at Henry Woods Park in Rogers. She began the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail April 8 in honor of her mother-in-law who died from domestic violence.

Trisha Sisto, of Rogers, has embarked on a 2,190-mile journey – all on foot.
Sisto started her adventure April 8 at Amicalola Falls, Georgia, and for the next six months will walk the entire Appalachian Trail, ending in Maine near the Canadian border. The six-month journey will amount to more than 12 miles hiked per day.

In Kay’s honor
Her sole purpose is to raise awareness about domestic violence and honor her mother-in-law Kay Sisto, who died due to domestic violence in 2010. Trisha Sisto started the nonprofit “Kay’s Kisses” to help children of domestic violence.

“Kay Sisto was well-known for her big heart and lipstick kisses,” Trisha Sisto said. “Kay’s Kisses was formed to honor Kay, her heart and her kisses and to help those recovering from violence. When women and children leave violent situations, they are often forced to leave all of their belongings behind.”

Trisha Sisto, of Rogers, is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail for six months in honor of her mother-in-law Kay Sisto, left, who died from domestic abuse in 2010. To the right is Trisha’s husband and Kay’s son Michael.
Trisha Sisto, of Rogers, is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail for six months in honor of her mother-in-law Kay Sisto, left, who died from domestic abuse in 2010. To the right is Trisha’s husband and Kay’s son Michael.

Kay’s Kisses donates new books and gift packages to children displaced from violent homes; the children keep these gifts and have something of their own to provide a small amount of comfort during their difficult transition.
Sisto said the issue of domestic violence touched her life as a child and again as an adult when her mother-in-law was killed as she was preparing for her daily walk with her father. In honor of Kay’s lost walk, Trisha is planning to walk the entire 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail to raise funds for Kay’s Kisses.
All donations go to the kids. Sisto is funding the hike herself and is also paying for all business expenses for Kay’s Kisses.
Sisto’s big dream is to someday start a “kitty cafe bookstore” where children can shop and choose their own items for free and enjoy story times, crafts and pet snuggles. Kay’s Kisses will also be donating to groups that help with the education and prevention of domestic violence.
Such a big trip required big planning.
“I am certainly bustling to finalize all of my plans and gear,” Sisto said shortly before she left. “I have tons of questions and ideas rolling around upstairs, and I can’t wait to see them come to fruition.”

Planning for food
A large amount of planning has gone into the foods she will eat. She separated her foods into three categories — breakfast, snacks and dinner.

A large amount of planning has gone into the foods Trisha Sisto will eat on her six-month hike of the Appalachian Trail. She separated her foods into three categories — breakfast, snacks and dinner.
A large amount of planning has gone into the foods Trisha Sisto will eat on her six-month hike of the Appalachian Trail. She separated her foods into three categories — breakfast, snacks and dinner.

Breakfast includes “a variety of bars, protein shakes, coffee and enhanced oatmeal,” Sisto said. “I still haven’t decided if I will like having a hot breakfast — and I think it will most likely depend on the weather. I know I will want coffee, so I will have the stove out either way.”
For snacks, Sisto is packing nuts, seeds, peanut and almond butter, jerky, hummus, dried fruits and fruit leather.
“I also plan to pick up cheese and a few other perish-ables at each resupply point to enjoy the first few days back on the trail,” she said.
Dinners will include chicken fajitas, black bean chili, taco macaroni and Cajun chicken orzo, for example.
“I dried some of my favorite veggies like onions, bell peppers, spinach, jalapeños and cilantro and used them to flavor a variety of dishes each composed of a protein and a carb,” Sisto added.

The 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia and ends in Maine near the Canadian border.
The 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia and ends in Maine near the Canadian border.

Last but certainly not least on her food list is an item called UCAN, which she said “has given me super powers!”
It is a slow-burning starch that does not affect blood sugar or cause insulin spikes, so users end up with long-lasting steady energy.
When the company that owns UCAN heard about Sisto’s journey, they offered a 10 percent discount (use code UCANHIKE at checkout), with the proceeds to go back to Kay’s Kisses.
Those interested can get updates about Sisto’s trip at her website, kayskisses.org.
“I can’t wait to share my adventure,” she said.