Returning to Katahdin: An Appalachian Trail Dream
Bruce Matson has yearned to hike the Appalachian Trail for over 40 years. 2018 is going to be HIS year. Join Bruce in his conversations with Steve Adams as he prepares for, then undertakes, his epic journey.
info_outline Episode #45 - Four weeks later 10/01/2018
Episode #45 - Four weeks later We always planned to have this final episode, so it was great to catch up with Bruce in such good spirits after his epic journey. He'd been home for a month and was starting to absorb what he'd done, yet his stresses from "normal" life were piling up once more. We spoke about what he'd learned and how he felt after his journey, with some words from Cheryl to give another perspective. I couldn't be happier that we followed Bruce. Like Jessa, last year, he was an interesting person who articulated the ups and downs of life on the trail. Also like Jessa, he had had moments of doubt that needed to be overcome. We're now two for two. Let's hope that I can make it three for three next year. Thanks for listening. Your support has meant a lot to both of us.
info_outline Episode #44 - Week Twenty Seven 09/03/2018
Episode #44 - Week Twenty Seven As all things must do, the end was in sight as Bruce set off into the 100 Mile Wilderness last week. I didn't hear from him again until Saturday evening when he had summited Katahdin and fulfilled his 44-year dream to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. There is plenty of time for Bruce to draw his conclusions of a journey that had kept him occupied, away from his beloved family for half a year. This episode is going to follow the pattern of all the others, with his stories on the trail, his thoughts about aspects of hiking the trail and, of course, his epic retelling of his final day on the trail. I'm full of admiration for Bruce's tenacity and vulnerability and the way he has managed his expectations along this pathway. He hasn't always been frank with how tough it has been, yet he has always projected a positivity that surely carried him to the top of Katahdin. At the end of the day, it was the finish he wanted. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals. They have assisted greatly in bringing this show to you and I'll always be grateful for that support. One last thing which has often been buried under the news of Bruce's progress. He has been raising funds for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, an organization dedicated to making the trail accessible to all. If you've loved this podcast I'd urge you to make a donation to the fund that Bruce is personally matching out of his own funds. Click on the link and support the ATC. Thanks for all your support.
info_outline Episode #43 - Week Twenty Six 08/27/2018
Episode #43 - Week Twenty Six Bruce is now within a week of Katahdin, at Monson, preparing for the 100 Mile Wilderness. By the time you hear this show, he'll be in the wilderness and out of touch, reflecting on the beauty he has seen. He and his buddy, GBolt have decided to load up six days of food and enjoy the wilderness without interruption or food drop. It is hard to believe that the journey is almost over, yet the culmination of Bruce's 44-year dream concludes next Saturday, September 1 as he climbs Katahdin with Cheryl. We also say goodbye to our great sponsor, Trailtopia, who has been with us all the way. We hope that you take the opportunity to support Trailtopia when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out the wide variety of meals that are on offer. We hope that you come back next week to hear how this epic journey comes to an end.
info_outline Episode #42 - Week Twenty Five 08/20/2018
Episode #42 - Week Twenty Five With just a couple of weeks left on the trail, Bruce reassesses his difficulty rating after his New Hampshire and Maine experience. Recon has sustained an injury that forced him from the trail, leaving Bruce and Gbolt together as they contemplate the 100-Mile Wilderness. They intend to use their time in the Wilderness to reflect upon what they have achieved so far. We also got a great question from Patrick Sackrider about how impactful a thru-hike might have been on Bruce and me had we done it in our 20s as opposed to our 60s. It made us both think and speculate. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #41 - Week Twenty Four 08/13/2018
Episode #41 - Week Twenty Four Bruce is in the last state–Maine. He has already gone through the Mahoosuc Notch, a kind of rocky jigsaw puzzle, where you work out the best route as you move through it. The pictures in these notes are taken by Bruce and feature his two hiking compadres, Gbolt and Recon. He felt the need to hike with other people, partly out of safety reasons but also because he wanted to share his hike with other people. Many hikers team up with a trail family, or "tramily," for the majority of their journey but Bruce has rarely hiked with others for more than a day. He intentionally considered and prayed for hiking partners and he met and teamed up with his current friends the following day. He speaks about his faith and how it has helped him on the trip. Shout out to Jeff and Tracy for sharing their home with Bruce and other hikers simply out of the goodness in their hearts and their fascination with the stories from the trail. Also, thanks to GBolt for asking Bruce his question. He's already sent his address to receive his two Trailtopia meals We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to / to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #40 - Week Twenty Three 08/06/2018
Episode #40 - Week Twenty Three Bruce has been in one of my favourite parts of the trail; The White Mountains in New Hampshire. As always, he has researched his subject and knew what to expect. Consequently, he has had a tough time that he knew was coming. The weather doesn't always cooperate–and it didn't for Bruce–but the scenery, when you find it, is hard to beat. He even had fairly decent weather as he crossed the second-highest point of the trail, Mt Washington. With the Whites pretty much now behind him, he is looking forward to the last great test before Mt Katahdin; Southern Maine. We had an excellent question this week about thunderstorms from David Braxton, so make sure that you send me your address, David, so that I can get two of Trailtopia's yummy meals sent to you. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #39 - Week Twenty Two 07/30/2018
Episode #39 - Week Twenty Two With twelve states in his rearview mirror, Bruce has started New Hampshire. As he alludes to in the show, this is a moment that makes you bring Katahdin into clearer focus and, in of itself, it is a huge achievement. For a man who REALLY plans, he hasn't considered his sleeping arrangements in New Hampshire, a critical consideration due to the expensive system of AMC Huts. I was able to send Bruce a link to those stealth sites. If you'd like to see them, click here. He was also regretful at having missed sunsets and sunrises, an error I made back in 2014. Next year I'll be seeking them out assiduously. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #38 - Week Twenty One 07/23/2018
Episode #38 - Week Twenty One With Bruce hiking in the lurking shadow of Mt Killington and Vermont, we caught up this week. His mood had turned around from his "Banana Pudding Moment" and, probably critically, he was hiking in more conducive weather. The oppressive heat of the previous week or so had dissipated and he was well back on track. We had a great question from Barb Oelschlegel about what constitutes the optimal trail magic and Bruce revealed his bug strategy which is, to say the least, surprising. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #37 - Week Twenty 07/16/2018
Episode #37 - Week Twenty This past week, Bruce put up a post on his blog that, for the first time, revealed some of the insecurities that can come with a long-distance hike. While we spoke about his latest progress on the trail–he has just passed Mile 1600–we also looked at that "Banana Pudding" moment that almost derailed his hike. The post can be found at this link. When I asked him if he would have made any changes to his preparation for the hike, he mentioned that he had changed his camp shoes to Hounds, a Crocs knockoff. They can be found here. He did say that they were $9 but these are $14. Either way, it seems like a deal to me. With New Hampshire and Maine just over the horizon, I also promised to add a link to my own experiences in those glorious states. I hope that you love the music. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #36 - Week Nineteen 07/09/2018
Episode #36 - Week Nineteen Bruce spent several days off the trail this week. He has family in Connecticut and spent a couple of days with them, then a day hike with his daughter Amy and a family member. Though not in the interview, he also shared with Steve the extent of the damage that the rocks of Pennsylvania and, to a lesser extent, New Jersey and New York, had done to his psyche. This is a subject we will discuss in next week's show, though I'm aware that the main reason he probably "confessed" to this is that these days in Connecticut have revived him and, once the hot weather subsides, he'll be hiking with a renewed vigor. I took the chance to also chat with Amy, his younger daughter once she had returned to New York. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #35 - Week Eighteen 07/02/2018
Episode #35 - Week Eighteen Bruce and his daughter, Brook, shared a couple of days hiking in New York this week. So, after chatting with Bruce, I also had a word with Brooke about her father's almost serene progress. Water has started to become more scarce, with planning vital to avoid a parched six or seven miles. Bruce has found great value in the Guthooks Guide on his phone, with updates on where water can–and can't–be found. He also realized that the rocks weren't quite finished yet! Eric Tomorrow came up with this week's question about unexpected places Bruce had discovered. The timing couldn't have been better as Bruce found one the day before we spoke. Don't forget, Eric, we need your address. Send it to and Trailtopia will send you two of their delicious meals. By the time you hear the show, our man will be into his 10th state. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #34 - Week Seventeen 06/25/2018
Episode #34 - Week Seventeen Hoping for somewhat of a respite from Pennsylvania, Bruce had a tough time in one of the New York sections, skipping it temporarily when the forecast showed 100% chance of rain. As always, his instincts seemed spot on, and he has made it up and over Bear Mountain, one of the bigger climbs in New York. We discuss the differences between hiking the AT now and hiking it back in the 40s and 50s, prompted by a smart question from one of our listeners. Then, in a couple of quickfire questions, Bruce came up with his best and worst moments, and places, so far. We spoke again yesterday (Sunday) when Bruce confirmed my recollection of a horrendous climb down from Arden Mountain. I knew I hadn't been making it up!! We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #33 - Week Sixteen 06/18/2018
Episode #33 - Week Sixteen Bruce invited yet another guest hiker to join him on his journey. The only problem might be that Pennsylvania isn't the easiest place to get your trail legs. Further, combining the climb up out of Lehigh Gap AND the Knife's Edge isn't exactly Amateur Hour. As always with Bruce, his preparations and expectations were geared towards this and he handled it all really well. Having successfully maintained his hike through Pennsylvania, Bruce got an early taste of the unexpectedly beautiful New Jersey; still rocks but glorious views all around. He also spent an idyllic time by and circling the gorgeous Sunfish Pond, one of my favorite sights on the AT. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #32 - Week Fifteen 06/11/2018
Episode #32 - Week Fifteen With Bruce deep into Pennsylvania, Steve was expecting this week to have been especially challenging for him. However, just as he's faced every adversity in the past, Bruce has managed his way through the rocks and reached Port Clinton. He's even seen more wildlife. While he is nowhere near finished with the state (or, perhaps, the state has nowhere finished with him), he has invited a buddy to hike with him on the notorious Knife's Edge and the exciting but challenging climb up from Lehigh Gap. I forgot to thank Samuel Cutshall for his interesting question for Bruce on faith. As always, you got a considered answer, Samuel. Please let me have your home address so that I can get Trailtopia to send a couple of meals your way. Don't be like me and forget–to follow Bruce's and channel. We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, , when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to https://www.trailtopia.com/ to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #31 - Week Fourteen 06/04/2018
Episode #31 - Week Fourteen Now back into the swing of things, Bruce has passed the halfway mark and is into Pennsylvania. He hasn't been fully tested by the rocks yet but has had a few early "tasters" to give him some idea of what is to come. He has at last seen some wildlife, so Bruce and Steve discuss the beauty of animals in the wild. From the sublime to the ridiculous, he also took part in the time-honored tradition of the Half-Gallon Challenge. Thanks to Annie Chavent for her question about how, or whether, Bruce chooses his distractions on the trail. Make sure you get your address to me to take advantage of the free Trailtopia meals. Remember to catch up with Bruce's at and don't forget to take the opportunity to support our sponsor, Trailtopia, when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #30 - Week Thirteen 05/28/2018
Episode #30 - Week Thirteen Bruce breezes past the 1,000-mile marker and reaches Harpers Ferry, the traditional halfway spot on the AT. He and Steve discuss returning to the trail the compartmentalization of his hike and his home life. He continues to drop weight and the picture below really pushes that home. Looks like a new pair of shorts will soon be needed. Bruce also realized that too long away from the trail in the middle of a through hike is not a good idea, and he was ready to return after a week at home. Still, as you'll hear at the end of our second conversation, he doesn't always find the right place to sit!! We hope that you take the opportunity to support our sponsor, Trailtopia, when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to https://www.trailtopia.com/ to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #29 - Week Twelve 05/21/2018
Episode #29 - Week Twelve Bruce and Steve took the opportunity this week to reflect on his journey so far. He has been home for a week for his daughter Brooke's graduation and used the time to rest, spend time with friends and make changes to his pack. We discuss Bruce's choice of start date and the weather that he faced, the prospect of adding an umbrella to his gear, and the true meaning of Trail Magic. We hope that you consider supporting our sponsor, Trailtopia, when you consider your next backpacking trip. Go to https://www.trailtopia.com/ to check out their wide variety of meals.
info_outline Episode #28 - Week Eleven 05/14/2018
Episode #28 - Week Eleven This week, Bruce had a shorter time on the trail, leaving last Friday to return home for his daughter's graduation and Mother's Day. He spent part of the week hiking in Shenandoah National Park with a buddy from home. It was an easier week than most, but he heads home with more than 900 miles hiked and his plans going as he'd hoped. Bruce will return after a week or so at home, so next week's show will have his reflections on those first 900 miles. If you'd like to follow more of Bruce's story, why not watch him on his channel, Bruce RTK Matson. Thanks to those of you who have been checking out Trailtopia's great offerings at their site, .
info_outline Episode #27 - Week Ten 05/07/2018
Episode #27 - Week Ten Bruce continues to shed weight as he pushes past the 800-mile mark with his boundless enthusiasm and positivity. Having come to his home state of Virginia, he is joined on the trail with Cheryl, his wife, along with a few more friends. They recently hiked together up to the iconic MacAfee Knob, taking in Tinker Cliffs as a wonderful extra bonus for the day. You can see the weight loss on Bruce in this great shot with Cheryl. A few miles further along, after MacAfee Knob, the wonderful Tinker Cliffs afford you a magnificent panorama as you hike close to the edge. I loved it there, as did Bruce. We had a bit of a technical issue on Sunday morning, so I ended up chatting with Bruce in the configuration below. I do not recommend it. Don't forget to support our great sponsor, , when you plan your next trip onto a trail. Bruce reminded listeners how they can contribute to his goal of raising funds for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Click on the link below to go straight to the page set up for these donations.
info_outline Episode #26 - Week Nine 04/30/2018
Episode #26 - Week Nine Bruce seems to be gaining strength from losing weight and gaining his trail legs after 700 miles on the trail. He is even making his friends give him a double take when they come and visit him. This week, he and Steve share their experiences at Dragon's Tooth, with the dreaded climb down a strong memory for Steve. Bruce seemed to take that in his stride, though he talks of the previous couple of miles and the angular rocks that he encountered. With Cheryl and some friends visiting him this weekend, he is set for a warm week ahead and the iconic Kodak moment at MacAfee Knob, probably the most sought-after photograph after the one at Mt Katahdin. Last week, in Pearisburg, Bruce got Trail Magic from one of our listeners, Eliza Suzanne. Thanks so much, Eliza, it's hard to put into words how wonderful it is to get visitors on the trail. You can keep up with Bruce's blog at / and follow his YouTube channel at . While you're online, we hope that you'll consider supporting our sponsor, .
info_outline Episode #25 - Week Eight 04/23/2018
Episode #25 - Week Eight Spring appears to be constantly derailed by late winter blasts on the Appalachian Trail this year but Bruce's spirit remains high. The two of us caught up twice this week, and by the second time he had reached Pearisburg. Each week I've been noticing that his confidence has grown and he has come through his baptism of snow with a renewed enthusiasm. Bruce visited the Woods Hole Hostel, a place that I missed but one around which he deliberately planned his trip. He wasn't disappointed by what he found. If you have questions for Bruce–and many of you seem to–please email me at and I'll try to make sure that Bruce answers them all. If your question is chosen you'll receive two trail meals from Trailtopia. If you'd like to know more about , please visit their site; you won't be disappointed.
info_outline Episode #24 - Week Seven 04/16/2018
Episode #24 - Week Seven Bruce and Steve caught up just once this week, but it was just in time to catch him celebrating a big milestone in his hike. He is now hiking well, the weather is warming, and his weight is plummeting. He has gone through the gorgeous Grayson Highlands (above)–ponies and all–and is embracing all aspects of his hike. Steve and Bruce discuss the beauty of the area, as Steve reminisces about the area and gives Bruce something of a preview of the next few days. Despite the fact that he has passed the 500-mile mark, Bruce still hasn't felt the hiker hunger that normally accompanies such exertion. He's losing weight at quite a pace, yet feels great. If you want to find out more about his journey–and how you can contribute to his fund-raiser for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy–visit his site at . While you're there, why not hop on over to our sponsor, site to plan the food for your next hike.
info_outline Episode #23 - Week Six 04/09/2018
Episode #23 - Week Six Bruce has reached Damascus and is resting for a couple of zero days, taking in the Masters Golf Tournament on TV at the same time. He is expressing confidence in what he has learned on the trail to this stage and feels that Damascus is the end of the beginning. We talk about his Winter Supplement; those items specifically chosen to help him cope with the cold should there be any. So far, snow, rain, and cold have been the predominant weather characteristics, so he remains grateful to his preparation. Don't forget to follow channel if you'd like to see some of the dreadful weather Bruce has been facing, and read his blog, at for more insights and pictures (as we don't seem to have any this week). As always, we are so grateful for the generosity and support of in their support for our shows.
info_outline Episode #22 - Week Five 04/02/2018
Episode #22 - Week Five Bruce has certainly had his share of lousy weather so far but he has remained upbeat most of the time. We caught up with him twice again and he experienced the unpredictable nature of weather in the mountains. He noticed the first signs of an imminent Spring and even ran into my old buddy from the Fat Guys group last year, Vagabond Jack. Bruce is now hiking around one of my favorite spots on the trail; both north and south from Carvers Gap. He posted a great picture of the spruce forest on the top of Unaka Mountain, a view I recall so well from my time on the trail four years ago. That very spot resonated so much with me and elicited memories all around that area. I recall that going into that forest I was a little nervous about how dark it was but, once I was in there, it was a delight to make my way along the path. As always, we thank our sponsors, for their unstinting support of our shows, so please check out the variety of food that they offer hikers. The great news this week is that our new network site, , is now open and ALL our shows can be heard in this one location. Try it out; we think you'll love it. If you see ways in which we can improve on it please let me know at
info_outline Episode #21 - Week Four 03/26/2018
Episode #21 - Week Four We had a few communications problems this week, with dropped calls, interrupted sessions and even the mowing crew outside my home causing a few editing difficulties. Despite this, Bruce is making strong progress, passing the 300 mile mark and well past Hot Springs. To give you some idea of the weather that he has faced, this photo shows his tent after a nighttime snowfall. It has not all been cold days and nights. When we spoke on Tuesday, Bruce had found a good spot to chat on the top of Snowbird Mountain. A listener, John Dupras, came up with a burning question for Bruce, so much so that he had to take something of a timeout to formulate his response. If you're reading this, John, thanks for the question and please send me your email so that I can get a couple of meals sent to you. The Hiking Radio Network published two new shows this week. First, Anna Huthmaker, the inspirational woman who started Trail Dames, is starting her own show. Anna is interviewing strong, equally inspirational women for her monthly show. The Trail Dames Podcast is available on iTunes and wherever you find your posdcasts. Jessica "Dixie" Mills is the star of our other new offering. Dixie "LIVE" on the Continental Divide Trail is our attempt to get as close as possible to a live broadcast from the trail. Dixie starts her journey in the next week to ten days and the first three episodes, about her preparations for the hike, are free to listeners at this link. From April 1, all our podcasts will be found under HikingRadioNetwork.com and Dixie's shows will be published at least twice a week whenever possible. This show is a premium show and will be available at $4 per month to subscribers. If you have ANY questions about this please email me at In the show I mentioned a suggestion from a listener, Bill Ruddy. Bill wanted me to remind people of the other reason for Bruce's hike; the purpose beyond self. Bruce is trying to raise $250,000 for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, so I've put the direct link to Bruce's donation page on the ATC's website. Just click this button and you'll be directed to the site. Thanks for anything that you can afford. Don't forget to visit Bruce's hike page at , where you will also findr our podcasty. While you’re online, we’d also be delighted if you’d check out and consider the wonderful food choices that they have for your next hike.
info_outline Episode #20 - Week Three 03/19/2018
Episode #20 - Week Three By Friday of this week I hadn't heard from Bruce and, knowing that there was some fiercely cold weather in the region, I was starting to get a little concerned for him. I needn't have worried. He's about as prepared as a man could be for this journey and eventually got through to me at lunchtime on Friday. In the meantime, I had spoken with his lovely daughter, Brooke. She has spent the previous weekend with her father on his journey and they had had a blast. You can see from the photos that Bruce sent me that he's certainly needed his microspikes, with the snow turning to ice and giving him tricky conditions underfoot. The really great thing is that he is having a blast, learning as he progresses, and his gear is working out for him. Make sure you catch up with Bruce's at rtkchallenge.com and check out the great trail food options from our sponsor, .
info_outline Episode #19 - Week Two 03/12/2018
Episode #19 - Week Two My first conversation with Bruce on this week was when he was halfway up Albert Mountain, at the 100-mile point. He had already experienced a tough climb out of Bly Gap and felt that it had been tougher. What he didn't know at the time was that it is the second part of the Albert Mountain Climb that really tests you. He sounded really well and a few pictures from his Facebook page endorsed that view. He was happy with the way his gear was working and all his choices were performing as expected. One thing that Bruce mentioned was the tiredness that sometimes engulfs you fter a hard day's hike. I know that feeling well and just seeing his tent made me yawn. The second time that we spoke he had his daughter, Brooke with him. She had just turned up and his joy at having a hiking buddy was palpable. He'd had a very, very long-time-ago deja vu at the Nantahala Outdoor Center and had negotiated the climb out of NOC really well. As you'd imagine with Bruce, everything was going to plan. You can read more about Bruce and his hike on his blog. You can find it at , where you will also be able to hear our podcast and contribute to his fundraising for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. While you’re online, we’d also be delighted if you’d check out and consider the wonderful food choices that they have for your next hike.
info_outline Episode #18 - Week One 03/05/2018
Episode #18 - Week One I was able to catch up twice with Bruce this week. He's made solid progress and is, not surprisingly for this "man with a plan," precisely where he’d planned to be at this stage. He had anticipated that his second night on the trail would establish his mindset that he was really in the woods for an extended period of time. For that evening, he found himself stealth camping, with a gorgeous view, along with several other hikers. The journey was really on and this was his view that evening. There then followed a period of rather worrying (for me) radio silence. I needn't have worried and Bruce eventually reached out. Our second conversation (which was interrupted when Bruce had to find a better, less windy spot) showed him to be happy with his progress and his hike. These are early days and there is still plenty of tough climbing to follow, so we'll be checking his progress in the coming weeks as he settles into the rhythm of his hike. Don't forget to check in on Bruce’s blog, which is going to be regularly updated. You can find it at , where you will also be able to hear our podcast and contribute to his fundraising for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. While you’re online, we’d also be delighted if you’d check out and consider the wonderful food choices that they have for your next hike.
info_outline Episode #17 - It begins!! 02/26/2018
Episode #17 - It begins!! It has been a long time coming but Bruce is finally on his way. I spoke with him, along with his wife Cheryl on Saturday, 24 February as they prepared to hit the Approach Trail at Amicolola Falls State Park. All the preparation had lead to this and Bruce was ready to go. How lovely it must have been for him when two listeners of the show, Robert and Margaret Thomas showed up to wish them Happy Trails. What a kind gesture that was. After taking in the atmosphere at the bottom of the mountain and registering as the 292nd hiker of the 2018 season, Bruce and Cheryl set off. Several hours later, carrying day packs and fresher than I expected, they got to the top and had the obligatory picture by the famous green plaque. I often look at my version of this and I always smile. So he's away! Late on Sunday, I also had a brief chat with Cheryl as she returned home. She'd become a little emotional as he left and even recorded the scene. Click the link below to see his first steps with his full pack.
info_outline Episode #16 - The Final Countdown 02/19/2018
Episode #16 - The Final Countdown With just seven days to go, Bruce and Steve have a longer-than-normal chat about his going-away party, his final thoughts and wishes for his journey, as well as some of the ramifications that his hike may have on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. While I had found him to be stressed and distracted on his home territory when I visited him in Virginia last Friday, he was completely different when we spoke yesterday (Sunday). He seemed to be thoroughly in the zone and counting his blessings, not least of which were his friends and family who attended last Friday's send-off. As you can see below, he has what he calls a kilt but, to anybody with even passable eyesight, it is clearly a skirt. Nice!! Bruce knows that the hike is to fulfill a long-cherished ambition, but he also wants to leave a legacy that will go beyond that personal ambition. If you want to support his efforts on behalf of ATC, you can visit his page or simply go to this on the ATC site and you'll be in the right place to make your donation. Next week, we'll have our first chat with Bruce on the trail, hopefully at the top of Springer Mountain, with his lovely wife, Cheryl.