COUNTDOWN 22 DAYS!
I recently received the March-April copy of AT Journeys, a publication of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. This great little magazine, usually about 50 pages, provides some interesting articles about the trail and the adventures of hiking.
This issue was dedicated to the thru-hikers of 2013 and it is filled with pictures of the victorious backpackers on the trail and on that special mountain in Maine. Photos showed hikers on top of McAfee Knob (the famous rock that juts out into nothingness over the valley below), at the traditional midway point at Harpers Ferry, WV, at the actual midpoint mile-maker in Pennsylvania, in the midst of the Hundred Mile Wilderness, and at the NOBO starting plaque atop Springer Mountain, GA. As I read through some of the articles I was impressed with the different backgrounds and personal histories that are united in the quest of the long trail. Tom is an aviation and airline consultant; Brian makes a living as a New York homicide police detective; Steve, in the “real world,” is a real estate broker; and Brendan is an army vet with two tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. The world of thru-hikers is made up of both women and men; gray-hairs, redheads, blondes, and balds; geeks and jocks; veterans and greenhorns; right-out-of schoolers and retired folks; philosophers and dreamers; the crude and the cultured; but they all have the goal of making it to the end.
There is a complete list of all 948 people who recorded a thru-hike during 2013. Along with their birth name is their trail name – some with fascinating handles like Honeysuckle, Shadow Wolf, Stink Bug, The Friar, Twigs, and Still Here – others with word plays on their given names like Woodchuck (Chuck Bissonnette), Miles to Go (Miles Bisher), Code Walker (Cody Buchanan), and Flash Gordon (Lindsey Gordon) – still others that need some interpretation like Quahog, Barking Spider, Sconnie, Bitter Goat, and Shweasle. I can’t remember names very well but I really like the concept of a new name for a new adventure.