Mighty Blue On The Appalachian Trail: The Ultimate Mid-Life Crisis

Mighty Blue On The Appalachian Trail: The Ultimate Mid-Life Crisis

This show is about what it was like to hike the AT in 2014 as a fat 61-year-old with zero hiking experience. Guests join me to share their stories and insights all the way from Georgia to Maine. At the end of each episode is a chapter from the latest hiking book that I'm reading.

Episodes

June 30, 2022 82 min

I met Emily Leonard and her husband Bruce at the Author's Tent at Trail Days in Damascus early this year. Not only does Emily write about her AT hikes, but she also has terrific stories to share about them. Like me, she has completed two Appalachian Trail thru-hikes and has now written about the first one. She also produced a children's book that will introduce a whole new generation to the trail.

Additionally, Emily was f...

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Father and daughter hiking partners, Kayla and Ken Bold, came to the Appalachian Trail with Ken originally intending to hike just a section in support of his daughter. As often happens, those plans changed, and they headed north together as a team.

Each learned something about the other, with their familial bond strengthened along the way.

You can follow Nugs on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kayla.bold/

Our two catch-up...

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June 16, 2022 78 min

This week, we have a first for the podcast. Initially, our principal guest, Jeff Hays, lays out his views on why the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail should move to Alabama. As Jeff says, "Why not Alabama?"

Then, Jeff and Nathan Wright debate the issue as they see it. They keep it respectful and agree far more than they disagree. At the end, I weigh in with my opinion. I hope you all learn something from this dis...

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Today, we have Ian Alderman on the show. Ian and his daughter, Eve, are hiking the entire length of Britain. While it isn't a super long hike, it is still over a thousand miles and there is very little in the way of a defined path. The West Highland Way WAS a path that made it a little easier for them and that's where I found them.

What's remarkable about these two, though, is that both Ian and his daughter are autisti...

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Dennis Pack is nearer my generation of hikers, and this week he shares the story of his 2021 flip flop. He's a great believer in serendipity and enjoyed the way in which things just "happen" out there on the trail.

He has a well-grounded, gentle wisdom, some of which he learned on the trail, though much of it he clearly accumulated over his 60 years. His cousin had been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and, not knowin...

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Natisha Webb wrote to me recently about my West Highland Way trip, telling me she'd already booked to go on the same hike next year. We corresponded, and it turns out that she also thru-hiked the AT in 2021, having been "Covided" off in 2020.

Naturally, I wanted her to tell her story, and she agreed to come on the show. As you'll hear, she is a pragmatic woman, making sensible decisions when decisions are required.

...

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Today, we have Nathan and Kimm Wright, from the Pinhoti Outdoor Center. I met them both at Trail Days this past weekend, and we got into a discussion on the benefits–or otherwise–of relocating the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail to Alabama, using the Pinhoti Trail to effect that change.

This is a controversial subject that Nathan and Kimm are well-versed in. Indeed, Nimblewill Nomad, who was with the two of them at Trai...

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Our guest today is from the AT Class of 2017. His name is Chris Veasey, and we share an open chat about his experiences on the trail. He flip-flopped, heading north from Harpers Ferry to Katahdin, then south to Springer. His northern section was spent with a tramily, while he was largely solo in the south. We discuss the differences between both sections.

Chris has written a book about his adventures and has put up a Kickstarter f...

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This week, we have the aptly named Tick Terminator, otherwise known as Brian Anderson. Brian has had a fascination with ticks–and how to terminate them–for over ten years. He has advised companies on how to deal with their outdoor employees, suggesting best practice to keep them from contracting Lyme and other diseases.

Today, he's offering advice to hikers and backpackers. He does this in a fun, informative way, and I think w...

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This week's show is all about my recent "saunter" on the West Highland Way in Scotland. As many of you know, I'd never hiked before I moved to the US, and I certainly didn't know about this little gem in Scotland. I'd originally intended to couple a quicker hike on the WHW with a similarly fast walk on Hadrian's Wall Path. However, as you'll hear, fate intervened, and I had one of my most satisfying ...

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Today, we catch up with ALL (available) members of the Mighty Blue Class of 2022. Having been away for more than five weeks, I've missed their starts–in many cases–and the suspension of their hikes–in a few cases.

One thing that is apparent from these conversations is that nobody's experience is like any other hiker's experience.

The conversations speak for themselves and, going forward, I want you all to know who we...

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April 14, 2022 51 min

Our guest this week is Traci Galyon, or Reroute. Traci's evolution from irregular hiker to thru-hiker is interesting, in that it was her husband Don who was originally intending to hit the AT. Instead, Traci absorbed the information, found herself drawn in by the adventure, and eventually went alone on the trail.

She plans to hike the PCT this year, WITH her husband Don, so we'll look out for that story later in the year.

...

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Today's guests were known as the Praise Team on the trail, with the purpose of "spreading cheer" on the trail.

As committed Christians, Ken and Allie Dravis saw their hike as an opportunity to encourage and learn about their fellow travelers, offering support and encouragement as they went along.

Ken wrote a book following their hike, and that is to be released shortly. When I get back from the UK, I'll let you al...

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March 31, 2022 47 min

Ken Good is today's guest. Ken took the name PTL (or Praise the Lord) on the Appalachian Trail. If you followed Ken's YouTube channel–Bestill on the Trail–you'll know exactly why!!

Ken is such a positive person, carrying and expressing his faith all the way to Katahdin, meeting people along the way who were happy to pray with him.

You can check out Bestill on the Trail at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU6UNNbl5GM2K...

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March 24, 2022 55 min

We have a wonderful story on the show today. J Robert Harris grew up in New York during the 1960s. His folks realized that the New York streets were no place for a young black man. JR was sent to the Catskills to join the Boy Scouts. The lessons he learned, and the things he saw gave him a new purpose in life to pursue knowledge and peace in the outdoors.

Following a caribou migration, or turning up at an Inuit settlement, JR'...

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I was introduced to Bonita Curtner, otherwise known as Mother Goose, by a listener. Bonita is something of an overachiever when it comes to racking up hiking miles. She is closing in on 50,000 miles. She also says the last 2,000 have been the toughest!

We had a few tech difficulties getting recorded, but the story was worth the effort. Bonita didn't share any links or social media, but she shared her knowledge and wisdom, both...

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March 10, 2022 61 min

Hope Westall is today's guest. Hope is the owner of Alt Route Meals, yet it is her hiking and her traveling that made me want to interview her on the show. But the meals are now a part of Hope's life, with a desire to mix her adventures with nutritionous, plant-based food that allows her to hike stronger and healthier.

She has done the AT and PCT, several trails in Australia and New Zealand, as well as a summit of Mount Ki...

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Shep Smith, or Soundscape, had a particular mission when he was on the Appalachian Trail. As a former oceanographer, Shep chose to map the sounds of the trail. He shares a few insights today, along with stories from his hike.

If this fascinating subject gets you as much as it did me, you can check out the interactive map that Shep refers to in our conversation. It is at https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/8839ac254aa2473a9f2d294...

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February 24, 2022 61 min

I have a wonderful reunion this week, with Lee Brackman, General Lee, from my Class of 2019. Lee and I ran into each other in Virginia and hiked around each other for a few days. Despite that brief time, we felt like firm friends, our nearly 50 year age difference notwithstanding. It was great to catch up.

Lee is a pretty remarkable young man, having packed an awful lot of stuff into his 24 years, including both his long hikes, mi...

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February 17, 2022 50 min

This week, another intrepid young woman shares her story with us. Kelly Hays, who has developed quite a following on YouTube, hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2021, yet hers was no ordinary hike.

Emergency surgery for most people would take them off the trail for more than just a few weeks, yet Kelly was so desperate to get back with her trail family that she returned just three weeks after the surgery. Hear how she coped with this ...

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