The Ultimate Hike
I got involved with the Ultimate Hike in 2013 after receiving an e-mail from The Backpacker. I was intrigued by the challenge of completing the 28.3 mile hike in one day on the Appalachian Foothills Trail. I was also curious about fundraising. It wasn’t hard to make the commitment. The issue of children’s cancer was very personal to me, as one of my former students, Catherine Sherpy, had lost her courageous fight with leukemia on June 17, 2013. Meeting and training with the Columbia team is something I will always cherish. By the end of my first hike weekend, there was a sense of true accomplishment. I completed the hike and far exceeded my fundraising goal.
I enjoyed myself so much that I not only hiked the Foothills Hike again in 2014, but also coached and recruited hikers for the Columbia team. I achieved a personal goal in 2015 by hiking all four of the “traditional” Ultimate Hikes, including the Foothills Trail (South Carolina), Dolly Sods (West Virginia), Superior (Minnesota), and Tecumseh (Indiana). For each of the hikes, I was the sweeper. This gave me the insight and privilege to witness the inner strength and perseverance of my fellow hikers. At the pre- and post-hike meals and on the trail, we listened to each other’s stories, and we bonded. The hike weekend and the personal stories were truly awe-inspiring. The Ultimate Hike experience is all about the relationships and the bonds that people share.
My passion has lead me to hike in six Ultimate Hike events. I plan to continue to coach the Columbia team (which has included people from as far away as Utah and Florida). Why don’t you join us? For more information, contact The Backpacker or go to www.ultimatehike.org.