Why Is He Hiking?
So why do this you might ask? There are two reasons, actually. One, Fred wants to see if he has one more long walk in him. And two, he wants to give back to the National Park System.
Granted, the odds are significantly against an individual successfully thru-hiking the entire length of the A.T. in a one-year period of time, especially someone of his age who has virtually no experience doing something like this. Approximately 2,500 individuals each year attempt to thru-hike the A.T., but of those, only about 25% are successful. Said differently, on average, 75% fail. Further, the median age of those who do succeed is 29, and since the creation of the Appalachian Trail in 1937, fewer than 500 hikers age 60 or older have made it from one end to the other in the required timeframe. But, my oh my, what a challenge it will be.
As noted, Fred also wants to give something back to the National Park System that was so wonderful to experience during his two-and-a-half-year road trip a couple of years ago. Additionally, this year is the 50-year anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson designating the Appalachian Trail as our country’s first National Scenic Trail. Therefore, one of his objectives is to raise funds for the National Park Foundation (NPF). Our parks are a national treasure and now more than ever they need our help.
“National Parks are the best idea we ever had.”
In this life we are afforded few opportunities to do something that can potentially contribute to the greater good. Fred believes that this is his chance to do something significant for this country’s greatest natural treasures, or as Wallace Stegner stated: “National Parks are the best idea we ever had.”