Local ‘Yankee’ hiking Appalachian Trail

By: 
Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

"Three Men and a Yankee" at the summit of Mt. Katahdin in northern Maine after a weeklong, 120-mile wilderness hike on the Appalachian Trail, which the four county agricultural agents, including Stan Moore of Central Lake, have been hiking in sections since 2011. The group hopes to complete their hike of the 2,174-mile trail from Georgia to Maine in the next few years. Shown (from left) Fred Miller and Stan Moore, along with Mickey Cummings and Henry Dorough. 

 

REGION – Almost 10 years ago, four county agricultural agents were chatting during a social hour of a meeting of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, which all four have served as president of at one point or another in their careers.

The quartet discovered that they shared a love of hiking the outdoors and an ambition to hike the longest "hiking-only" trail in the world – the Appalachian Trail.

The group, dubbing themselves "Three Men and a Yankee," took on one of the two, 174-mile long trail sections together for the first time the following spring.

And they've been at it ever since.

"The challenge is to finish it before we die," said Stan Moore of Central Lake, the "Yankee" in the quartet consisting of Mickey Cummings of Blairsville, Georgia; Fred Miller of Newton, North Carolina; and Henry Dorough, of Eastoboga, Alabama, as well as himself.

Since 2011, the group has hiked just under 1,000 miles of the trail traversing the spine of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, in one, or, at times, two "section hikes" per year, said Moore, an MSU Extension Dairy & Human Resource Educator.

"Since only two of us are retired, we do sections of the trail, averaging 15 miles a day or so, during our hikes, rather than attempt a ‘thru-hike’ – doing it all at once – which takes more than two months even for the strongest hiker," he stated. "We aren't trying to set any records."

That said, with the passage of years, the group has become very aware that their window of time is slowly closing to achieve their goal of hiking the entire trail.

"None of us is getting any younger," Moore explained. "I'm the baby of the group, at 54, while Fred is in his early 60s, so this year we decided that we had better start tackling some of the more difficult sections of the trail, while we still can."

In early June the group took on a 120-mile wilderness hike leading to the summit of Mt. Katahdin, the northern-most terminus of the Appalachian Trail, in northern Maine.

"For 100 miles, there's no civilization at all, and with no cell phone signals, no contact with the outside world at all," the Central Lake resident said.

That situation meant carrying enough food, equipment, and shelter to maintain for at least a week over treacherous wet rocks and tree roots, through insect-infested muddy bogs, up extremely vertical mountains, and through ice-cold, snow-melt raging streams.

But along with all of those obstacles also came breathtaking views of mountain vistas above the tree line, spectacular waterfalls, rare and sensitive wildflowers, and a wide variety of wildlife.

Read the full story in our regular edition of The Review. To subscribe to the paper for just $34 a year, which includes access to our full online e-edition, please go to the subscription page on this website at: http://www.antrimreview.net/subscribe/

 

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