Tragic Death on the Appalachian Trail – May, 2019

The tragic stabbing that occurred on the Appalachian Trail on May 11 left one man dead and one woman critically injured. Since the trail’s completion in 1937, there have been remarkably few (less than 10) murders on the Appalachian Trail. Its long 80+ year history has proven that the AT is a safe environment to enjoy God’s creation. When a murder does occur, it brings sadness and sobriety to the entire hiking community. The next three posts on this blog will attempt to share the facts of the situation and not to sensationalize this tragic situation. This post will focus on the accused murderer, the next on the victim who died, and the last on the victim who escaped and survived.

James Louis Jordan, trail name “Sovereign,” has been charged by federal authorities with one count of murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder following an attack on the early morning of May 11 near the Smyth-Wythe county line on the Appalachian Trail.

James L. Jordan

Jordan is last known to have lived in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, a community of about 6,000 in Cape Cod, where he accumulated an extensive criminal record. On June 1, 2013, Jordan was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and trespassing. Another incident of bizarre behavior took place later in 2013 in Barnstable at Cape Cod Hospital when Jordan was delirious and was yelling, screaming and claiming that the staff was trying to give him a lethal injection. On June 9, 2016, Jordan found himself facing yet another criminal complaint. The Lawrence Police Department in Massachusetts (about 1 ¾ hour drive north of West Yarmouth) charged Jordan with possession of a stolen car.  

Yarmouth, Mass.

This murder case on the Appalachian Trail is rather unique from previous violent deaths – it was preceded by six weeks of complaints about Jordan’s behavior and the hiking community was well aware of this man’s strange behavior. Brian King, the publisher at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and management of the trail), shared that the ATC was well aware of the recurring complaints about Jordan and had been urging hikers to contact local authorities or call 911 if he was a disruption on the trail. The organization had also asked its ridge runners (employees located along the trail to assist hikers and answer questions) to alert hikers to possible encounters with Jordan.

Brain King

Jordan’s strange behavior was noted on the Appalachian Trail as early as April 2019. On April 22, authorities were called to a location along U.S. Highway 23 in Unicoi County, Tennessee, on the report of a suspicious person. Jordan appeared at a road crossing where trail angels (volunteer good Samaritans) were handing out food to thru-hikers. Jordan initiated a verbal argument with some of the backpackers, who then alerted authorities.  Jordan was slurring his words and had trouble standing. He gave authorities a false name and birthday along with a fake ID.  He appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants. Jordan was arrested by Deputy Ricky Dean Jr. after a search revealed marijuana and a 17-inch survival knife. That knife is being held in the evidence room at the Unicoi Sheriff’s Office. It’s unclear when or where Jordan purchased the knife used in the attack in May.

According to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley, none of the hikers who had been assaulted by Jordan in the April incident were willing to press charges or testify in court, so Jordan was arrested only for the fake ID and drug charges. Jordan was booked into the Unicoi County jail and was later found guilty of criminal impersonation, public intoxication, and possession of Schedule VI drugs. He was released on probation on April 25 and ordered to stay off the trail.

Sheriff Mike Hensley

After this Tennessee arrest in April, the word began to grow in the hiking community, through word of mouth and on social media that “Sovereign” was a strange character known for threatening hikers and aggressive behavior.

Odie Norman is the publisher of the Hiker Yearbook. Norman said he met Jordan, along with his dog in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, on May 3. Norman offered to buy him lunch and noticed right away that Sovereign was not in his right mind. According to the Washington Post, Sovereign told Norman that he was “on a mission to protect the mountain people from the infiltrators trying to steal their insurance.”

Odie Norman

Early morning on May 5, Sovereign was seen in Bristol, Tennessee. He apparently stopped at the University C Mart around 1 a.m. The store’s owner, Mike Brown, told the Bristol Herald Courier that he was outside the store when he heard the sound of a can being kicked. He turned around and saw a dog wearing a service vest and then the dog’s owner – Jordan dressed in camouflage carrying a military backpack, a fishing pole, and a guitar. Brown thought Jordan was a veteran due to a tattoo on his arm. After Jordan said he was searching the dumpster for something to eat, Brown gave him a sandwich and a bottle of water.

Store Owner, Mike Brown

The actual events leading to the deadly attack began on Friday, May 10 when Tigerlilly, a thru-hiker from Ohio, encountered Sovereign and his dog on the trail. She had just set up her tent off the trail and was hiking alone within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Smyth County, Virginia. Tigerlilly immediately felt uncomfortable in his presence and quickly but carefully retreated to her tent. After a short time, Sovereign continued hiking north along the trail. He then approached four hikers on the trail.  

According to those hikers, he was acting disturbed and unstable. He was playing his guitar and singing to himself around the campfire. After nightfall, Jordan began randomly approaching the hikers’ tents, making noises and threatening the hikers. He spoke to the hikers through their tents and threatened to pour gasoline on their tents and burn them to death. At that point, all four hikers decided to break camp and move on to a safer location. Sovereign confronted them with a knife. Two of the hikers ran north on the trail and successfully escaped. They called 911 at 2:30 am, reporting that they were being chased with a man with a knife. 

The other two hikers were attacked by Sovereign. Both were stabbed. One managed to escape and one was killed on the trail (their stories will be shared in future posts).

According to online news sources, at about 6:14 a.m., the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office tactical team entered the campsite where the attack occurred. The team initially located Jordan’s dog. Officers took Jordan into custody observing bloodstains on his clothing. The tactical team discovered the body of the fallen hiker along with a large knife, believed to be the murder weapon, in close proximity to the victim’s body. Jordan’s dog was taken to the animal shelter in Wythe County.

Both the female stabbing victim and the two hikers who fled from Jordan identified him as the attacker. The sheriff’s department, working in concert with the Virginia State Police, closed approximately 16 miles of trail to complete a crime-scene investigation. That section of the trail was reopened on Sunday, May 12.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Jordan and he was found incompetent to stand trial “at this time.” The judge ordered James L. Jordan back into a mental health facility for further treatment, and she requested another report within four months

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent

On July 8, based on the subsequent psychiatric report, Judge Sargent found Jordan “mentally incompetent for the charges against him to proceed at this time.” The Judge ordered him to be returned to a federal mental health facility for treatment and “to determine whether there is a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future the defendant will attain the capacity to permit the charges against him to proceed.”

Resources:

https://www.outsideonline.com/2396150/appalachian-trail-murder-2019-james-jordan

https://www.outsideonline.com/2402641/kirby-morrill-appalachian-trail-stabbing

https://www.washingtonpost.com/crime-law/2019/07/15/suspect-appalachian-trail-killing-ronnie-sanchez-jr-found-incompetent-stand-trial/

https://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/survivor-of-appalachian-trail-knife-attack-in-wythe-county-plans/article_51d4f632-b15a-5818-8781-70dba52f36ce.html

https://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/traumatized-ex-soldier-died-trying-to-find-peace-on-appalachian/article_86428fcc-f55f-51d2-9efe-da9461508abd.html

https://www.heraldcourier.com/news/business-owner-called-police-about-appalachian-trail-suspect-one-week/article_7e8e1dcc-75f8-11e9-883f-97129a332c48.html

https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/frontpage/2014/02/13/candidate-says-unicoi-co-sheriff-s-dept-revoked-his-badge-gun-same-day-he-announced-intentions-to-run-against-current-sheriff

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/about-us/our-team/brian-king

https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/newswire/

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article229620344.html

https://www.robertpaul.com/real-estate/22-highland-street-yarmouth-ma-02673/rp22high/18323354

https://www.heraldcourier.com/news/upholding-the-law-a-passion-for-federal-magistrate-judge-pamela/article_b3b266ec-6d58-5a50-a331-2a948627668d.html

Categories: Uncategorized, Appalachian Trail, Thru-Hike, Virginia, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Murder, James Jordan | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amerithon Week 29

The Amerithon is walking the distance across America (3,521 miles) without having to leave your home state (unless you want to). I began on August 1, 2019, and hope to finish sometime during 2020. At the beginning of my challenge, I was unsure about the winter and maintaining sufficient miles to complete the Amerithon on my time schedule. However, the weather has been unusually mild, and I have been able to hike just about every day.

I did not anticipate having one of my best weeks in the middle of February, but Week 29 (February 13-19) yielded 63.21 miles. God is faithful. One of the highlights of the week was a great hike with my wife, Cathy – trail name: Rocky – to a local arboretum. Because of the warm temperatures, the paths were not covered with snow and ice. Instead, they were quite muddy, but we laughed and had a wonderful walk as we embraced the adversity. Rocky is so good about reminding me of my slogan, “No Adversity – No Adventure.” I was excited to see some spring flowers popping up. Rocky and I talked about an early spring and the strangeness of this year’s winter months.

On my virtual hike across the United States, I have finally made it across the state of Colorado and have crossed the state line into Kansas. My next destination is 118 miles down the path to Dodge City. I hope to reach this goal in another three weeks. But my next major goal is to reach the halfway marker at 1,760.5 miles. As of the end of Week 29, I have walked 1,716.61 miles. My hope is to crash through the mid-way point this upcoming week. On the Appalachian Trail, every brave thru-hiker eats a half a gallon of ice cream to celebrate the halfway point at the country store in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. If I were truly experiencing the adventure from coast to coast, I would be getting ready to down a large container of Moose Tracks. But since it is a local-style hike, I will have a Power Bar and call it good.

Categories: Amerithon, Appalachian Trail, Cox Arboretum, Half Gallon Challenge, Local Hikes, Pine Grove Furnace | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Tigerlilly's Presentation

It was so good to attend this year’s Adventure Summit at Wright State University. Co-sponsored with Five River’s Metroparks, this summit is an amazing event bringing nationally known speakers to the Dayton including mountain climbers and long-distance hikers. This year one of the featured hikers was the 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Heather Anderson – known as Anish on the trail. She is the first female to complete the Triple Crown (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail) in one calendar year. Anish also holds the unassisted record for Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Appalachian Trail (AT – 54 days, 7 hours, and 48 minutes.)

Triple Crowner – Anish

Anish Photo: https://point6.com/blogs/news/ambassador-heather-anderson-attempts-calendar-year-triple-crown

My wife, Rocky, and I took one of our grandsons to the summit on Saturday, February 15, for the specific purpose of hearing from Tigerlilly, Cheryl Fleetwood, who completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2019. As a friend and alumni parent of several students from my previous school, I followed her adventure from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the summit of Mount Katahdin, Maine.

Cheryl is a fabulous photographer and her presentation was exquisite. It quickly took me back five years to my incredible experience on the trail. During her journey, she encountered a murder on the trail. She assisted in helping an injured hiker to safety. She had had a conversation with the mentally imbalanced man earlier that day but avoided physical injury. I will follow up on this story in a coming post. Her presentation was so entertaining. Great job, Tigerlilly!

An unexpected surprise for me at the summit came just before Tigerlilly’s presentation. Tigerlilly’s sister and one of my favorite long-distance hikers, Princess Doah, was there and we were able to catch up a little on her most recent adventures. As we were talking, a gentleman came up and introduced himself to me. He was GBolt, Greg Behrens, another AT thru-hiker from this area. He hiked much of the last two states with another friend of mine (Bruce Matson) and I read a great deal about him during his adventure in 2018. I have never met him and it was good to finally be able to chat. He began his hike on March 15 and summited Katahdin on September 1. If you are interested in his story, please check out his journal at www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/584256. I was so impressed with him even after a short greeting. He is a wonderful brother in the Lord.

Categories: Anish, Appalachian Trail, The Adventure Summit, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Body of Missing Hiker Found

On Wednesday (2/19/20), Dawson County Fire Chief Danny Thompson broke the official tragic news during a 9:30 pm press conference: “It is with a heavy heart that I must regret to inform you that we have recovered the body of Eddie Noonkester at approximately 2:28 this afternoon. Search crews were able to locate the body. He was located approximately one mile southwest of what is referred to as the Approach Trail.”

Noonkester’s body was discovered in a rugged, inaccessible area of the park, near the Len Foote Hike Inn. The trail leading to Len Foote Hike Inn is 1.3 miles from the beginning of the Amicalola Approach Trail, but the Inn itself is 5 miles east of the trail.

Eddie Noonkester, a resident of North Carolina, began his thru-hike on Friday, February 14. He was reported missing on Sunday and state and federal officials began their search for the missing hiker.  Investigators were able to get a ping from Noonkester’s cellphone, which helped them narrow the search to Dawson County. On Monday, Feb. 17, the staff of Len Foote Hike Inn located some of Noonkester’s personal belongings near the Hike Inn trail. Search efforts continued through Monday night and into Tuesday morning with six K9 teams searching a large grid area around the Approach Trail.

 130 first responders and volunteers were involved in the search for Eddie on Wednesday. One of the volunteers was Wesley Noonkester, Eddie’s brother. Wesley spoke at the news conference, “I do appreciate everyone coming out tonight and for all of your prayers. There was so many people out here in the cold and the rain, that put their own lives in jeopardy to find my brother. It’s not the outcome that I’d hoped for, but at the end of the day our goal was to bring Eddie home and we were able to do that. I cannot begin to describe how much compassion each and every person has shown to me and my family during this difficult time. There’s lots of bad in this world, but there’s a lot of good in it too….I just know tonight when I lay down I know my brother is in a better place.”

While looking for his brother, Wesley and a second volunteer located another hiker in destress (an older man with a sprained ankle). They helped the injured man back down the trail to safety. He took several hours of his search for his brother to help someone else. Yes, Wesley, there is a lot of good in this world.

The cause of Eddie Noonkester’s death has not been determined, and the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) will perform an autopsy, but according to Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson, the death does not look suspicious and there have so far been no indications of foul play.  

Resources of information:

https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-news/breaking-hiker-body-discovered-dawson-county-authorities-say/0WlDhUEvvkzYsOT6kbM6rL/

https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/badge-bar/dawson-county-authorities-searching-hiker-missing-near-appalachian-trail/

https://www.cbs46.com/news/missing-hiker-found-dead-just-mile-away-from-trail/article_7fc2f9ae-538f-11ea-8c35-9bc20bb602ec.html

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Eddie Noonkester, Georgia, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Hiker in Georgia

Eddie Noonkester

Eddie Noonkester, a native of North Carolina, began a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail on Friday, February 14, 2020. On Sunday, February 16, a friend of Noonkester called 911 after receiving a cell phone from Eddie who shared that he was experiencing physical cramping. About 20 minutes later, Noonkester called 911 himself, sounding confused and disoriented. He was unable to tell 911 where he was. Investigators were able to get a ping from Noonkester’s cellphone and concentrated their search grid in that area.

Dawson County Fire Chief Danny Thompson said the search area is large and the rainy weather and rough terrain will make the search difficult. North Georgia is experiencing heaving downpours of rain and foggy conditions in the mountains. There is a chance of winter weather as well on Thursday.  Chief Thompson said their priority is “to try and find him in the next 48 hours.” Noonkester was described as a white male about 60 years old, 5’10” tall, and weighing about 200 pounds. He is said to have gray hair and a noted gray goatee.

Officials also believe that Noonkester is on or near the AT Approach Trail in Dawson County, but it is also possible he wandered off the trail and into the National Forest or Park property. The approach trial is 8.8 miles and is quite demanding. It climbs 2,000 feet from Amicalola Falls State Park up to Springer Mountain (the official start of the Appalachian Trail).

Some of Noonkester’s personal items were found on Monday, but searchers were unable to find the hiker. Multiple K-9 teams continued to search for him into the night after the official search was discontinued until Wednesday. Please pray for the searchers and for Eddie Noonkester that there can be a successful recovery of this hiker in the mountains of northern Georgia. I will update when more information becomes available.

Sources of information:

https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-news/officials-searching-for-missing-north-georgia-hiker-appalachian-trail/Moo9KwetBtFWuQDUiO1WoM/

https://www.cbs46.com/news/search-continues-for-missing-north-georgia-hiker/article_b739e2a6-528d-11ea-b07b-4b8bf4fdd66e.html

https://www.cbs46.com/news/all-night-search-effort-in-effect-for-missing-hiker/article_f9afe1f4-5200-11ea-9aea-b740a63c943a.html

Photo source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/missing-in-georgia/eddie-noonkester-missing-along-hiking-trail/85-564110cc-c1bb-4154-bd62-9bf2bd5c4709

Categories: Amicalola Falls, Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Amerithon: Weeks 27 and 28

The Amerithon is walking the distance across America (3,521 miles) without having to leaving your home state (unless you want to). I began on August 1, 2019 and hope to finish sometime during 2020.

Week 27 (January 30 – February 5) of my journey began in Morgantown, West Virginia, and concluded back home in Springboro, Ohio. Rocky and I went to see her mom and family in Almost Heaven, The Mountain State, and the Home of the Mountaineers. My wife, Rocky, was born in Morgantown and I move there when I was only four. We grew up in the same town, went to different elementary schools and junior highs, but attended the same high school. We never met during high school but finally made the connection in college while we were both attending West Virginia University (GO Mountaineers!)

I obtained my love for hiking in the hills of West Virginia. The state parks of Blackwater Falls, and Canaan provided so many miles of beautiful trails and I could not get enough of the mountain skies and fresh air. Even though we were visiting Rocky’s mom and based in the nice community called Suncrest, I was able to enjoy some nice hikes on the bike trail along the nearby river. Despite a zero-day for travel back to the Buckeye State, I managed to accumulate 58.63 miles during Week 27 making a grand total of just over 1,600 miles (16,02.38 to be exact)

Week 28 (February 6-12) was not quite as productive but I ended up the week at 51.02 miles. The weather was a little nasty this week, although fantastic compared to most years during February in Ohio. On cold days or raining/sleeting days, I traveled down the street to the YMCA and walked around the indoor track (16 laps for a mile, so a 7 miles walk involved 112 laps). I almost felt dizzy after my workout – but I was warm and dry.

On Friday (2/7), I earned my next Amerithon Badge (the Cantaloupe Badge). This badge represents travel from the Garden of the Gods, just outside of Colorado Springs, to Rocky Ford, Colorado, and a distance of 99 miles. Colorado is a wide state – about 380 miles. I have another 95 miles to the Kansas State Line. By the end of Week 28, I had whittled the East Coast finish-line to under 1,900 miles (That’s less than the AT!).

Categories: Amerithon, Local Hikes, Ohio, Rocky, Uncategorized, West Virginia | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Amerithon: Weeks 24, 25, & 26

The last three weeks of my Amerithon have been pretty average, but pretty average is pretty good for me, and pretty okay for my overall goal. In case your just tuning into my walking goal, I am hoping to walk the distance from San Francisco to Washington, DC. or 3,521 miles. There is a program called Run the Edge that tracks your progress and awards you with badges and metals as you accomplish your goals.

I began my adventure on Thursday, August 1, 2019, and hope to finish my miles before the end of the year 2020. To do so I need to walk 47.6 miles every week. During the last three weeks, I have hit the minimum and a little extra. Week 24 (January 9-15) I walked 49.31 miles; Week 25 (January 16-22) yielded 52.1 miles; and Week 26 (January 23-29) I tallied 52.6 miles. My motivational goal is to break 60 miles each week, but in January and February, I will be satisfied with hitting the minimum.

Several milestones have been reached during these three weeks. I broke through the 1,400-mile marker on January 9th and then hit the 1,500-mile marker on January 24th, while ending week 26 with 1,543.74 accumulated miles. I also lower the miles left to walk below 2,000 miles on January 27 – as of the end of the day on January 29th, I just have 1,977.25 miles to the finish line. God is faithful!

If I were truly walking from the west coast to Washington, DC. I would have arrived at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs on January 27th. I have actually been to this beautiful place before so I can appreciate the destination.

After a long dry fall, the winter months have brought some moisture to the Ohio Valley, mostly in the form of rain. So far, the temperatures have been well above normal for December, so the snowfall has been minimal but the rain has visited several times.

 My wife and I made a trip to West Virginia to visit with her mother and extended family. I lost a hiking day due to travel, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the bike path along the Monongahela River. About four miles from home there is this cool cement structure that looks like a petrified TARDIS from Doctor Who, but it provided some interesting photos shot through the holes in the cement.

Categories: Amerithon, Local Hikes, Ohio, West Virginia | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Amerithon: Weeks 21-23

I knew a bad week was going to happen eventually. But I thought it would come as a result of several feet of snow or windchill factors plummeting the temperatures down to the double digits below zero. Instead, the low mileage came as a result of sickness and injury.

Week 21 (December 19-25) yielded only 34.07 miles. In order to complete the journey of hiking the equivalent of the mileage across America (3,521 miles) by the end of 2020, I need to average 47.6 miles every week. I began the challenge on August 1, 2019, and have just completed week 22.  Because of a flu-like cold, I ended up taking four zero-days in a row during Week 21. Being sick over Christmas was not much fun either. The weather was beautiful – lots of sun and blue skies. It was rather painful to be stuck inside knowing that the weather outside was offering an invitation for long miles

Such a Negative sign – better than Dead End – I would prefer Cul De Sac or Loop Trail

Week 22 (December 26-January 1) was a struggle as well. I took two zero days this week. Not because of weather or flu symptoms, but a sore leg. I woke up in the middle of the night and could hardly walk. My left leg thumped and my knee felt like it would not hold my weight. I hobbled around most of the day. I took Tylenol and massaged my calf with a mussel rub. It felt better the next day, so I took a nice, painless 10-mile walk. Then that night, I experienced the same discomfort. It has been an off-again on-again problem. I am trying to figure it out – diet? shoes? nerves? age? (no, that can’t be it). I did manage to surpass the minimum during Week 22 (48.16 miles), but I am concern about the long-term leg issue.

Week 23 (January 2- January 8) was just a minimum week. The leg continues to cause some discomfort on certain days and then on others if feels fine – what a strange malady. I walked as my leg would allow and managed to accumulate 48.81.

I still have a loooong way to go. I have accumulated 1,390 miles leaving a whopping 2,131 miles to the finish line. Short term goals: 10 more miles I will break the 1400-mile marker; just 132 more miles and I will reduce the finish down to under 2,000 miles. One step at a time, day by day, no adversity – no adventure.

The ice rink – just waiting for the winter blast
Categories: Amerithon, Local Hikes, Ohio | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Amerithon: Weeks 19-20

As I continue my walking challenge of accumulating the total number of miles it takes to walk across America (San Francisco, CA to Washington, DC, a distance of 3521 miles) I have been able to maintain a fairly good pace. I began the journey on Wednesday, August 1, 2019, and have completed Week 19 (December 5-11) and Week 20 (December 12-18) since my last post. Both weeks were good – Week 19 totaled 60.1 miles and Week 20 accumulated 70.57. I have now managed to walk 1,258.7 miles and have just 2,262 miles to go.

Week 19 – the highlight of the week was a walk that Rocky and I took together to a local park downtown Dayton, Carillon Park, to hear the carillon play and hike around the historic grounds. Carillon Historical Park is a unique open-air museum housing many historic buildings and artifacts chronicling the impact that Dayton, Ohio, has had on the world from the Wright Brothers to the Rubicon locomotive to Laurence Paul Dunbar to Reynolds and Reynolds.  Rocky and I took a walk along the river leading up to the park and then enjoyed a trip around the grounds including one of my favorite things, a watchtower. This tower houses an iconic clock that used to a prominent feature of the Reynolds and Reynolds building on I-75, a timepiece that I would see twice a day for several years traveling to work. I have this love/hate relationship with heights, but there is something about a tower that calls my name. The view was outstanding and the stair steps leading up the top provided a great photo.

Week 20 – one of the best days during the week involved an eight-mile walk from Rice Field to the small downtown area of Miamisburg, Ohio. This adventure took me over the Great Miami River and up and down the hill on West Linden Ave. I made this same climb a few weeks ago and it is a major work-out. Back across the river, I continued north on the bike path and walked some miles where my feet had never trod before. There was a great multi-colored wall along the path and some beautiful sycamore trees stretching their long arms into the afternoon sky.

On the last day of Week 20, I earned another badge on the Amerithon. – the “Into The Rockies Badge.” It represents the journey from Cortez, Colorado to Silverton, Colorado – a short segment of 81 miles that includes some of the most magnificent scenery on the entire trip as the route cuts through the San Juan National Forest. To make the actual journey, the hiker would travel beside the Dolores River, walk through the historic silver-mining town of Rico, see the magnificence of the prominent 14,252-foot Mount Wilson, maneuver through the Lizard Head Wilderness, and trek through the Ophir Pass. If you have time google some of these locations and see the beauty of God’s creation. This segment is probably impassable in December because of the snowfall, but not on the Amerithon – it all looks like Ohio.

http://amerithonchallenge.com/tracker/badges-and-links/
Categories: Amerithon, Carillon Park, Local Hikes, Miamisburg Ohio, Rice Field, Rocky | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Weeks 17 and 18 of the Amerithon

I began my Amerithon on Tuesday, August 1, 2019. With the goal of accumulating local walking miles that would equal a walk across the United States (west to east), I took my first steps in hopes of hiking 3,521 miles. My plan was to average 47.6 miles each week for 74 weeks (August 1, 2019 through Dec 31, 2020).

So far, I have done well to keep that pace. At the end of week 18, I am averaging 62.67 miles per week and I find myself 271 miles ahead of schedule. However, the potential of bitter cold, slippery, winter weather is just around the corner. I can bundle-up and put on multiple layers of clothing, but the maneuvering the icy walkways or post holing in the deep snow may put a damper on my weekly goals.

Week 17 (November 21-27) was an excellent week for walking. The temperatures were moderate for late fall and the dry, blue skies allowed me to stretch my legs for 67.9 miles (one of my best weeks so far).

Week 18 (November 28-Dec 4) involved Thanksgiving and a trip to Canton, Georgia to see two of my beautiful granddaughters dance in the Nutcracker ballet and to wrestle with Sir William the Great one of my amazing grandsons. I was concerned about accumulating the walking miles for the week, but I knew I could pull a zero week and still be ahead of my projected end date. I was nicely surprised to find lots of opportunities to walk in Georgia and I pushed a little extra when I arrived back in Springboro to end up with 50.58 miles for the week. I enjoyed some great food (okay, I ate too much o that great food), I watched the Buckeyes defeat (smash, trounce, pummel) the team from up north, I attended the colorful and energetic ballet, I lost every wrestling match to the superhero, and experienced a relaxing fun-filled holiday with my son, Ben, and his family.

During this two-week time period I earned another badge on the Amerithon – The Sombrero badge representing a 147-mile section of the country from Bitter Springs, Arizona to Mexican Hat, Utah (population 31). My next segment is only 88 miles as I enter into my fifth state (Colorado).

Mexican Hat, Utah

Photo of Mexican Hat: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Hat,_Utah

Categories: Amerithon, Georgia, Ohio, Springboro, Uncategorized, Utah | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.