I never bother figuring my mileage or trail percentage during the year. Math isn’t a favorite subject. Each December I hunch over a calculator and stand amazed at the results.
My quest to hike all the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park began in December 2009. Three years later I have passed the halfway mark! Not bad for someone who started this adventure as a city-bred tenderfoot. It really is mind boggling how far I’ve come. Here are the stats.
Total for 2012: 361.7 miles
New for 2012: 208.3 miles
Overall total to date: 735.7 miles
Overall new to date: 459.3 miles (55%)
Trails complete: 87 (58%)
Incomplete trails to finish are Lakeshore, Hatcher Mountain, Thomas Divide, Beech Gap, Hughes Ridge, and Hyatt Ridge. I should check off a few of these in 2013.
Some of the longest and toughest trails remain. Now, however, I know I’ll hike them successfully. They do not intimidate me. It is simply a matter of planning — right timing, right gear, right partner(s).
My overall total mileage is the equivalent of walking from Nashville to Bradenton, Florida, south of Tampa, where I could see the Pittsburg Pirates in Spring Training, or to Omaha, Nebraska…if there was ever a reason compelling enough to hike to Omaha!
2013 promises to blow the soles off my Lowa boots. If I can adhere to my Appalachian Trail plan, I’ll rack up more than 1,100 miles. Smokies hikes in January and the fall will add to that. In one year, I could hike 1.7 times my entire three-year total! Now that would be impressive!
As always I want to thank my wonderful friends and hiking buddies, particularly Mary McCord, Susan and Allen Sweetser, and Clarence Mayo. The mountains and miles are made even more enjoyable in the company of such supportive and amiable companions.
I also want to thank those of you following my journey on this blog. All those magnificent miles outdoors are the uplifting prelude to untold hours sitting at this computer — transcribing trail notes, preparing photos, researching organisms, and scouring a thesaurus — to strike the right blend of descriptive information and atmospheric tone. My only reward is a sense of accomplishment burnished by the favor of your readership.