Update: We are happy to announce that Dan and Jessica have completed their Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
Dan and Jessica had some setbacks here and there, including a falling tree that injured Jessica. They started their thru-hike at Springer, and during their hike decided to flip-flop.
A flip-flop for thru-hikers starting south-to-north is not uncommon, especially if a hiker is injured. The reason a flip-flop is required is that Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, closes in mid-October. If a hiker is not able to reach Katahdin by that date due to pace, injury or some other reason, the hiker can hop off the trail, travel to Katahdin, and then hike back south to the place where they hopped off the trail. In the case of Dan and Jessica, they flip-flopped at a common point, Harper’s Ferry. (Here’s my history on the AT at Harper’s Ferry.)
Congratulations to Dan and Jessica for persevering, completing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail
Original Post: After another record breaking year of applications for our Appalachian Trail thru-hiker sponsorship, a program through which we provide financial support to thru-hikers, I’ve sorted through 214 applications from backpackers in the United States and Europe to determine a recipient.
I’m happy to announce that Dan and Jessica Woody, a husband and wife planning to hike together on a second honeymoon and the adventure of a lifetime, will receive our financial support in their attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail northbound (NOBO) from Georgia to Maine.
Dan and Jessica head for Springer Mountain, Georgia on April 5th to start their 2,000+ mile trek to Maine.
In the past, I’ve sponsored younger folks attempting a thru-hike, those transitioning out of college or in their late 20s and early 30s with careers in flux who tend to have the health and time to attempt such an adventure.
This year, when sorting through the applicant pool, we had a larger than normal percentage of folks attempting thru-hikes who were in the later stages of life. Many applicants were in their 50s and a few in their 60s. I think this is fantastic.
On my adventures, I’ve met countless people who comment something to the effect that they wish they had (traveled/biked/hiked/adventured) when they were younger, implying that their time had passed or that their obligations of career, home, family, finances etc. now prevented them from doing so. Well, perhaps adventure is still possible.
We decided we wanted to pick a recipient from this group of applicants, and we picked Dan and Jessica who are in their 50s.
By the way, I’m pretty sure I offended Dan when I told him I wanted to sponsor an older hiker, since he’s vigorously young in spirit and appears more fit than I am at 33, though he accepted and appreciated the honor all the same. 🙂
Best of luck to Dan and Jessica on their thru-hike attempt.