When Sherry suggested we hike the AT, we did not know what we were facing. I remember very well doing the numbers (that is my game, numbers).
Hey sweetie, no problem. we can easily do 16 miles a day (He said having NEVER backpacked except as a Marine). Now 2,167miles divided by16 is 135 days and change. That is 4 and a half months. Take 15days for breaks and we can do it in five months. Piece of cake.
The first thing I learned was we were lucky to do 7-8 miles in a day. The most we ever hiked in a day was 17, and that was only once.
A lone senior lady (74) on the left, her family hiking with her for a few days.
A nurse (solo), and ‘In Tents’ who asked, “I don’t have to get up do I?”
The first lake in the Wilderness.
Math is simple, straight forward and accurate but I did not add in the physical part nor the beauty. Sherry and I have enjoyed a lot of beauty in the world. We have enjoyed the Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmore, crossed the Tetons, were amazed at Yellowstone. Visited Lake Louise and were thrilled at the Yukon and the beauty of Alaska plus Hawaii (just to mention a few). BUT we did not ‘work’ to see those. The sights on the AT you must hike to see. And there is nothing like looking DOWN at an Eagle soaring below you.
Sir Richard from the UK
Neither were we ready for the fantastic folk you meet in the woods. Folks from all over the world. Hikers from New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa, Scotland and Ireland. There were kids, old folk, home schoolers, ministers, physically challenged and just plain folk.
Bill & his wife.
The trail was hiked by a man who had lost his sight. He had turned to alcohol and was destroying his life. In his spirit he was urged to attempt a thru hike of the AT with his dog Orient. He made it, he said:
“The first clear-eyed thing I had ever done was as a blind man, when I asked God to take charge of my life,” he wrote. “I had never spent much time in his vast outdoors, but after I quit drinking I couldn’t get enough of it. I learned wilderness skills and became the first blind person to ‘thru-hike’ the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. I made a point of telling fellow hikers about the God who guides me.”
We were blessed to have a chance to buy him and his wife dinner in Bangor, Maine. he died at 73 in March. When I asked them out to dinner I had forgotten that he was an international motivational speaker, in demand year round, but he accepted our invitation, only if he could pick the restaurant (he had become a Vegetarian) that was fine with us.
Thanks for joining me, here on the log.
In life you never know who you will meet to bless or be blessed.
Of course Bill did not drive, but his car sported the ‘Orient’ name referring to his trail name, “The Orient Express”. He also moved from Burlington, NC to the back woods of Maine.