According to the Bangor Daily News, on Sunday, September 16, 1973, six thru-hikers arrived at the summit of Mount Katahdin. Robert Bell from St. Louis; John Silva from Cranston, Rhode Island; Daniel Welch from Kansas City, Kansas; Michael DiNuzio and Frederick Elliot from Binghamton, NY; and the first man outside of the United States to complete a thru-hike, John Laming from Hertford, England.
Robert Bell and John Laming both began in Georgia just a few days apart but did not connect until they reached New Hampshire and the challenges of the White Mountains. Once they began to hike together they teamed up all the way to the brown sign atop the finish line in Maine. In an interview with the Bangor Daily News, John shared that the Presidential Range in the Whites was the most interesting and inspiring of the entire journey. He paid a high respect for the wilderness of Maine and pointed to the fording of the Kennebec River as the most hazardous undertaking of the fourteen-state trek. At the time of John’s hike there was no ferry ride across this dangerous river and the ford was treacherous when the water was high.
Although growing up in rainy England, Laming shared that he had never experienced as much rain as he did on his walk along the Appalachian Trail. In addition to the early rains along the path, he was also impressed (and maybe even depressed) with the summer heat waves. By the time they reached the mountains of Maine he thoroughly enjoyed the cool fall temperatures. When asked about his most pleasant memories of his thru-hike, John recounted the incredible sunsets and listening to the loons on the ponds in New England.
John Laming was only nineteen years old in 1973 during his Appalachian Trail adventure in the US. He returned to England with plans to enroll in an agricultural college with the goal of becoming a national park warden. In the picture, copied from the Bangor News article, Robert Bell is on the left and the young blond Laming is on the right. This invasion from the other side of the ocean was successful for the blue-blood from the UK.