Scott Hicks, Bill Downey Jr. and Bonner Ballinger got the idea to backpack the Foothills Trail in early 2015. Same goal: thru-hike the 77-mile trail straddling the North Carolina / South Carolina line in 7 days. Different motives — and approaches.
Bill viewed the hike as a physical challenge, as a way to structure his hiking and give him a goal to train for. Scott saw the hike as a prelude to a longer hike, most likely the 211-mile John Muir Trail in California. It was a chance to tackle the logistical challenges of a long hike. And Bonner? Bonner is more of a “because it’s there” guy — no underlying motive needed.read more
I climbed into the frigid car this morning, turned the key and was met by a sluggish grind, followed by clicking, followed by quiet. A moment of worry, then a smile. The New Year would be getting off to an active start with a bonus three-mile “hike.”read more
It was cold and dark, and we were occasionally plunked with raindrops. But not a one of us moved from our spot by the fire.
“What is it about a campfire?” someone asks.
We’re drawn to fire for its light and heat, of course. But for us, on a three-day backpack trip on the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest, it was less about survival and more about pondering, as Guy Noir might say, life’s persistent questions. Like whether one would survive a freeze-dried meal with an expiration date of 1997. (Answer: yes, surprisingly.)read more