I am temporarily side-lined for a while with an inflamed tendon in my leg. The good thing is that it happened during the heat of the summer when I had not planned on very many long hiking trips. So, I will have plenty of time to recuperate and work on other things for my walk across America.
I think most of us find people who inspire us. Whether you are a cook, a musician, an athlete, an intellectual, a parent, or adventurer, we look to all who have come before us. I have certainly done this with music (John Prine and Steve Goodman) and most everything else I have done: climbing, kayaking, traveling, hiking etc. So, when I started thinking about rekindling the adventurous part of my soul when I turn 60, I sought out some remarkable people. I would like to list a few of them here. If you happen to be an “armchair” adventurer, I highly suggest following their social media links or reading their books!
Freya Hoffmeister: http://freyahoffmeister.com/
One of the things I love to do is travel alone. Of course, I like company and the occasional partner. But it is really great to be able to make all your own decisions, set all of your own goals, and to accept all of your own successes as well as defeats. However, traveling alone is tough. It requires that little “extra thing” not everyone has. Freya is certainly someone who is a living lesson on mental toughness. In 2009 she kayaked around the continent of Australia. Yep, alone. Crocodiles near her campsites and a great white shark nipping at her kayak! She then kayaked solo around South America. And now she is in the process of kayaking the entire North American continent (30,000 plus miles.) So, I think if someone in her 50’s can kayak 30,000 miles, I should be able to handle 3,500 miles!
The next person was Kevin Biggar. As he says in the intro to his book: The Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower: How I Went from Couch Potato to Atlantic Rowing Race Winner. “Overweight and out of work, he sits on the sofa, eats fast food and watches daytime TV. He’s nagged by his mum. He’s bullied by the cat.”
So, Kevin is just your average guy who did one simple thing anyone can do.
Kevin made a decision. For me I truly believe you can do almost anything in the world you want. You just have to make a decision!
And it was all uphill from there! But what I get from him is also the fact that it has nothing to do with money or your physical abilities; it’s all mental! The guy not only rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, but he won the international race! His book, by the way, is quite a humorous read!
Next up is Jessica Mills: “Dixie” (her trail name) has thru-hiked the AT (Appalachian Trail) 2,100 miles (you might have seen the movie with Robert Redford: “A Walk in the Woods”) and the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) 2,600 miles. (“Wild” is a recent movie starring Reese Witherspoon)) She is currently hiking the CDT “Continental Divide Trail” 3,100 miles. When a person completes all three trails, it is called a “Triple Crown.” As of July 1st, 2018 she has hiked almost 6,000 miles carrying a backpack!
You can go to her YouTube channel and watch individual videos of her trip or she actually has a 90 minute film on her channel for the complete AT as well as the PCT trips. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQhqmV26773qZhzqJz4VFcw
Having hiked about 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail, I must admit I have a great admiration for the people who not have not only hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, but the PCT and the CDT as well! Over the last 80 years, there has been about 18,000 people who have completed one of these trails. However, there has been less that 200 hikes who have completed all three!
While I am constantly drawing my inspiration from different people, I just wanted to start with these three. I will post more later and focus on other great long distance walkers.
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