I am a retired Fire Chief with 38 years of service from several fire departments across the country, retiring from a Fire District in California in 2004.
I have been physically active for most of my life. I’ve hiked 14,000-foot mountains in Colorado, biked Century Rides, ran my first marathon at age 38 and my last marathon at age 68. Running has played an important part in my physical and mental health as I have competed in many half marathons, 3, 5, and 10K races and the Firefighter Combat Challenge (at age 52) and placing second in the International Competition.
I am able to do all this with my supportive and loving wife of 25 years. Our anniversary happens to be in July and I might still be on the Appalachian Trail at that time. But this is indicative of her support. She is helping me put this adventure together and will be supporting me during the hike with food and equipment drops, cleaning up my trail notes and posting them along with pictures to this website.
Some friends and family seem surprised by my desire to hike the Appalachian Trail and spend 4 to 5 months to do it. My wife and I see it as a natural desire for me, given my past physical accomplishments. I believe this walk has a spiritual component that I look forward to exploring as I live on the land, commune with nature, and push my physical abilities to their fullest.
I am really getting excited now that we are less than one week away from our February 20th departure date. I will pick up my hiking partner, Tim, in Atlanta, Georgia on the 19th, drive to Amicalola State Park Inn and Saturday morning we will be off and running … oops, I mean hiking!
OK, Tim here. So I’ve camped once in my life. I DO like to hike, but never with 35 lbs. on my back. How hard can it be, right? I blame Lee for this stunt. He can be persuasive, and when he found out I was retiring this winter and liked to hike, I was hooked. We will see how it goes. One step at a time. I look at this as a forced weight loss program, with some meditative “outside time” mixed in. My last day of work is Feb 15th. I fly to Atlanta four days later to begin “retirement”. I have a sign on my office wall that reads “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1”. I won’t be running, but let’s give walking a try.