How many miles of the Appalachian Trail have you hiked so far?
I have not counted it up – they just keeping moving the trail anyway. Instead I drawn an orange line over the sections of trail I have completed on my AT wall map. I have hiked the PA, MD, WVA, and VA sections to many times to count. Besides, it's never been about mileage and while one day I will get from Maine to Georgia – the walk will never end.
How many years have you been doing it?
What sections have you completed?
- Pearisburg to Damascus VA
- Roanoke, VA to Delaware Water Gap, PA (actually this was done in 5 section hikes)
- DWG, NJ (still need to cross that bridge over the Delaware River) to NJ-NY State Line (2 section hikes)
- White River Junction, NH to near RT 25
- Mt. Katadin to Monson ME
Why do you keep coming back to the AT?
You mean why do I keep leaving the trail and coming back down the mountain! My military time gave me the opportunity to hike around the county and world. But hiking the AT has always been different – it is a pilgrimage.
How many people do you normally hike with?
In the old days we were three, but now I walk alone.
How many days and/or miles do you do at a time?
Usually it’s a week or two with around 15 to 18 miles a day, but whatever I can get in-between sunrise and sunset. I love to walk.
Do you have a trail name? If yes, what is it and what's the story behind it?
Doc. I never had a trail name until 2009; I would just use my first name. During my section hike last fall to Damascus I stopped at a shelter to for some water (it’s a dry section). These two ladies popped out of the woods, twin sisters that were day hiking the trail in sections. Of course they asked for my trail name and I said that I just used my first name. This was unacceptable. Well, they asked if I wanted to walk along with them and we fell in together. I’m in good shape, but these sisters were clicking off at least a 3.5 mph pace uphill – I almost felt like I was running and these ladies were in their 70s. Anyway the usual trail talk ensued, what you do – where you been, etc. Things got back around to my lack of a trail name. I said that being retired military I got use to answering to a variety of names or ranks and it felt good to just use my own name again. But they were persistent and asked what the men called me the most often. I said that was unrepeatable! But, being a corpsman (medic), the guys would call me Doc or Chief. They said I looked more like a Doc and that was what they were going to call me. So that’s how I got my trail name.
What has hiking the AT taught you that you've applied in "ordinary life?"
You got the moment – enjoy it.
Mike submitted this Section Hiker Profile as part of the Gossamer Gear Pick Your Pack Raffle. The deadline for entering is midnight October 16, 2010. Don't delay. Submit your entry today.