THROUGH HIKER – A PERSON OF THE YEAR

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When I first learned of Danorah’s adventure blog I was all in.  A blog and Facebook page chronicling her adventure hiking the entire Appalachian Trail all 2,190 miles. How cool is that?   Wow, she gave up everything to follow her dream –her job, her friends, her life and in late May 2016 she set out on her own and started hiking the trail.  Definitely, our, 573 Magazine, kind of people and a 573 Magazine Person of the Year.

Completing the entire 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail in one trip is a mammoth undertaking.  Each year, thousands of hikers attempt it; only about one in four will make it all the way.  A typical through-hiker takes 5 to 7 months to hike the entire trail.

After convincing the publisher that meeting up with her on the trail and getting good images was the only way we could really understand what she was going through, I was off to meet her on the trail near Daleville, Virginia.

By the time I met up with her, she’d been on the trail for nearly 6 months.  She’d already lost 35 lbs and worn out a pair of hiking shoes.  With more than 600 miles left to hike, she had no intention of giving up.  We hiked together for a while.  We talked, made photos and experienced just another day of suffering on the trail.  What an interesting person.

My trail name is Splash aka Danorah Cox and I am an Appalachian Trail through hiker.  A through hiker is someone who is attempting to complete all 2,190 miles of trail all at once. It is a difficult task. The trail runs through 14 states on the eastern coast of the United States from Maine to Georgia. I’m documenting, the best I can, my adventure on my blog at www.othersideofthetrail.com and my Facebook page @danorahcox.  I grew up in Ojai, CA.  I moved to Cape Girardeau 10 years ago for work and now call Cape my home.  I am an introvert at heart. I like spending time with a close group of friends but I really value time spent in quiet contemplation.  I chose to take the least popular route almost entirely because of this.  I read a lot though I haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like.  Now, by the time I set camp I’m usually very tired.

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Before this trip I was working all the time.  I’ve been working a lot for a long time.  I grew up so poor I was always afraid of not making enough or getting into debt so I found myself doing jobs I hated but that paid well.  I wish I could tell you that too much work was the catalyst that sent me down such a drastic path. Truthfully, I just needed to do something different with my life.

 A while back I read a book about the Appalachian Trail and then another and another.  I knew I’d never have the opportunity to do it but it was something that really intrigued me.  I love research. So, just for fun, I began to plan out the entire hike.  I researched every piece of gear needed.  From cooking methods, to clothing and a plethora of other information available for long distance hikers, I created my fantasy hike of the Appalachian Trail.  Then one day I woke up and decided I was going to do it.  I sold my house, sold my car, resigned from my job and headed out to the trailhead in Maine. story-3-3

The most difficult part of my trip has been hiking the state of Maine.  It was gorgeous and amazing and brutal.  Constant severe elevation change with only boulders and roots to step on because if there was dirt it was a bog.  But in the 100 Mile Wilderness, appropriately named, every view could have been the same 1,000 years ago.  No towns, no homes, no human anything for as far as you can see.

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