We are not authorities on the trail, but we have met hundreds who are hiking, or have hiked the trail. The trail goes from Springer MT in Georgia, to Mt. Katahdin in Maine, 2,184 miles, thru 14 states. Sherry and I have hiked roughly 1850 miles thru every state except for parts of NH and Maine.
Over the period of years, trail names have become common. We must have a list of 300 different trail names of folks we have met, hiked with, camped with and shared a camp fire with.
(Kentucky Rifle, yeah from Kentucky!)
The first trail name I remember is ‘Pilgrim’. We were in our first 20 miles and met this ‘OLD MAN’. We were sitting on the side of the trail, he walked up, took his pack off threw it down stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I am Pilgrim.” ( I had chosen ‘the chief and his lady’ my girl then strongly suggest we change to the ‘Overland Hermits’). I asked his age, he said, “Three score and ten.” After retirement he had time on his hands and decided he would hike the trail. He had done a flip flop. That means hiking from Harper’s Ferry to Katahdin. Then returning to Harper’s Ferry and walking south. He was with 20 miles of his goal.
(Sir Richard from England)
A thru hiker is to be admired. About 1500 start each year and less than 500 make it. The majority lasts less than 100 miles.
Surprising, is diversity of hikers. Grandmas, grandpas, college kids, ministers and some bums . Young girls 16-20 and grandmas hiking solo.
(Bill Irwin and his beautiful wife, Debra. Bill is the only Blind man to ever thru-hike the trail, and an internationally recognized motivational speaker, we were fortunate to have dinner with them) (Bill and his dog Orient, were known as the Orient Express, on the trail.)
(Cricket as she starts the 100 mile wilderness, solo, she has already walked over 2000 miles)
The name Earl Shaffer is famous on the trail. He was the first thru hiker. After WWII he walked to forget the terribleness of war.
Then there was the first female thru hiker, a grandma, Emma Gatewood (67), mother of 11, grandmother of 23. She was famous for only using a small bag and wearing Keds.
A man from Shelby, NC (82), thru hiked a couple years ago.
There are some oddities. A few folks only eat cold food. bread/crackers and p-nut butter. Most folk have small stoves and have hot food. Ramen noodles are big. Freeze dried food. Canned stuff Vienna Sausage and potted meat. I met one guy who had dried his own veggies and packed them.
We met the smartest man in the world, trail name Mooseburger, from Germany. How do I know about the smartest? He flat told us. He had a more varied life than I, and after every job he added, I was the best there was. Funny thing about Moosebuger he had thru hiked twice and came back every year to hike a week or so, We met him two separate years. He was conceited, but he was a nice guy.
We have met folks from several countries who came over jut to hike the famous Foot Path. I haven’t finished what I started here, but that is it for tonight.
Thanks for coming.
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This is a 1955 Willy’s Jeep. My friend Theodore Woods had one of these brown and cream, he loved it.