Monday, November 28, 2011
Over the years I've encountered lots of thru-hikers up on Unaka Mountain, but Mike Ryan (trailname 'Footwork') was the first SOBO I've met. SOBO is trail talk for 'South-bounders', which means Mike began his trek up on Mt. Katahdin in Maine on June 22nd and now, 1,840 miles later, he's on the home stretch of his 2,180 miles march to Springer Mountain in Georgia, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Most of the thru-hikers are NOBOs, beginning their trek in early spring with the hope of completing their hikes before the early winter of northern New England. But because Mike didn't graduate from Appalachian State until late May, his only real option, was to ride a bus to Maine (not a pleasant experience) and head south. He had lots of great stories to share of his adventures (and the characters he's met along the way) -- and is definitely looking forward to completing his journey. It really is an amazing accomplishment. Only 1 in 4 of those who attempt a thru-hike actually complete the entire trail, most leaving the trail within the first two weeks.