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July 18, 2012

Rebooting on the Appalachian Trail

We enjoyed this story of a colleague who took a “reboot break” to accomplish an incredible goal.  Nat set himself a big one – climbing the Appalachian Trail – and after many years finally finished it.  It’s proof that taking time off is not only about taking a break from work – it can also provide the chance to fulfill a huge dream!

I began hiking the Appalachian Trail on March 25, 2004 when I was 59 years old. I am now 67. My total hike was 2,178 miles in length. It took a total of 180 days for me to cover the ground from Georgia to Maine passing through 14 different States.

Given that the elevation gain and loss on the AT is equivalent to hiking from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest and down 18 times, the likelihood of hiking straight through without taking some days off is improbable.  All-in-all, it has taken me 7 hiking seasons over the course of 9 years to complete the Trail, which entailed 17 separate forays (Sections). The longest Section I hiked was 28 days in length beginning at Bear Mountain State Park, NY and encompassing CT, MA, and VT, before ending in Hanover, NH. This Section was 344 miles in length.

My Long Distance Section Hike of the Appalachian Trail came to a close on May 19, 2012.  My children (Jack and Kim and her beau, Tim) along with my Brother-In-Law, Bill Rogers, were there to walk the last few miles of it with me.  Between their supportive presence and the excited, congratulatory responses of other hikers attracted to the Annual Trail Days Event underway in Damascus, VA that same weekend (roughly 60,000 in total!) it made for a VERY special ending to a very special experience for me.

When I began the Trail, my goal was to “hike 100 yards on the AT and then only as far beyond that as continued to make sense to me.” That goal has been achieved. And, if the Appalachian Trail were any longer, I’d still be walking… 

It’s been a phenomenal journey!”