Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stepping Out

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
--Lao Tzu (6th century BC) philosopher of ancient China  

Actually Randy and Ivana (trail names Kwai Chang Caine and Kaboose) expect their journey to be 2,180 miles -- or about 5 million footsteps. I met them on the 20th day of their Appalachian Trail thru-hike on Unaka Mountain.  They said they had spent the previous day resting at Uncle Johnny's Hostel along the Nolichucky River in Erwin, TN. According to the AT distance calculator, it's 340 miles from Springer Mountain, GA to Uncle Johnny's, which they did in 18 days -- an average of nearly 19 miles a day -- which is really pushing it! Randy, who's from Indiana, and his wife, Ivana, from France -- both love the Appalachians. I have no doubt they'll complete the entire AT.  They emailed yesterday from Damascus, VA after completing a 38 mile day.  I think they've earned another day off!

Completing the AT is really an amazing feat when you consider that only 1 in 4 hikers who start a thru-hike actually finish it -- only about 300 hardy souls per year.  Since its completion in 1937, only about 11,000 have hiked the entire length. Even if you don't ever plan on being a thru-hiker, you might find this website interesting.  It describes the AT and all the planning that goes into making the 5-7 month hike from Georgia to Maine. The Appalachian Conservancy website has some interesting statistics here and here, such as the oldest thru-hiker was Lee Barry, who in 2004 completed the trail at age 81.

Great videos put together by AT Thru-Hikers -- here and here.


  1. Hello, it's Kwai and Kaboose. Here it is years later, and was missing the trail. Starting to look at photos and journals, and thought of you. We summitted Katahdin october 1st 2011. Hiking the trail was quite a journey and had taught us a new way of life. Hope to hike it again soon with our children. Love the story, love the photos, and happy trails to you and Blue.

  2. Great to hear from you! It's always such a thrill for me to meet thru-hikers like yourself and hear the stories. I've met so many interesting people on the trail. Congrats on completing the AT! Happy trails to you!


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