Retired Kissimmee firefighter Alan Taylor hiked your complete 2,192-mile Appalachian Path from Springer Mountain, Ga. to Mt. Katahdin, Maine.
Even on the age of 54, Alan Taylor wasn’t afraid of an journey.
Taylor, a retired Kissimmee Hearth Division firefighter, not too long ago hiked your complete 2,192-mile Appalachian Path from Springer Mountain, Ga. to Mt. Katahdin, Maine, between March 11 and Aug. 26.
There have been days that had been breathtakingly lovely and others that had been chilly and depressing, however Taylor didn’t hand over.
“It’s the toughest factor I’ve ever carried out,” he mentioned. “I like challenges and journey. I like being within the wilderness and away from individuals.”
Taylor most popular to hike on his personal in the course of the day, however would typically meet up with different hikers at night time, the place they might discover a shelter or arrange their tents. With only a light-weight backpack, he carried the whole lot he wanted in addition to his 15.5-ounce waterproof tent.
“I carried completely the naked minimal,” he mentioned.
He slept in his tent about 40 nights. When he wasn’t hanging round one of many cities, the others had been spent in shelters scattered amongst the path. The shelters are free and as much as 12 miles aside. They embody an elevated flooring and roof to defend hikers from the weather.
Probably the most troublesome a part of the hike, he mentioned, had been the White Mountains in New Hampshire with steep climbs and large rocks. The 100-mile wilderness in Maine was additionally a problem.
“It is extremely desolate with nothing round,” he mentioned.
Taylor additionally skilled each form of climate situation you can think about from snow and ice to tornadoes and excessive warmth.
“Within the Smokies, it was eight levels. I used to be chilly and depressing, however I anticipated it,” he mentioned.
Kissimmee Hearth Chief Jim Partitions mentioned Taylor has all the time been the adventurous sort they usually weren’t shocked that he determined to hike your complete path.
“He was identified for his mountaineering and tenting when he was right here,” mentioned Partitions. “He was a long-time, well-trained firefighter.”
Taylor has no partner or kids and likes it that approach. After retiring in 2015, he was looking for one thing to do.
“I had heard of the path, watched movies and determined I may do it,” he mentioned. “I can do no matter I need for so long as I need and that’s the way in which I prefer it.”
Again in 2016, Taylor really hiked a part of the path for 4 days in Georgia. He took notes after which went again for an extended hike a few months later. Nonetheless, Partitions says Taylor tried an extended trek the next 12 months, however needed to cease attributable to an harm.
“We knew he had been wanting to do that for a while now,” mentioned Partitions.
Throughout his five-month trek, Taylor took 1,250 photos and 9 hours of video on his cellphone to doc his journey. Whereas mountaineering, he noticed 5 bears, deer, porcupines, beavers, venomous snakes and even wild ponies.
The “area journeys” had been his favourite factor in regards to the expertise. In mountaineering lingo, a area journey means going into city. His favourite was Scorching Springs, N.C. The Appalachian Path goes proper via it and he may get a scorching bathe at a hostile or lodge and seize some good meals. He additionally loved Monson, Maine, a city proper earlier than he entered the 100-mile wilderness.
“Maine was lovely. The timber are completely totally different ,and when you’re on prime of the mountain, you’ll be able to look out for miles and miles,” he recalled.
For him, the simplest a part of the journey was Connecticut and Massachusetts, which is comparatively flat with some rolling hills.
Would he do it once more? He hopes to do one other long-distance hike, probably the Pacific Crest, which fits from Mexico all the way in which to Canada. Taylor mentioned he actually linked with a number of fellow hikers and was given the identify “Fireplug.”
“Everyone seems to be given a path identify and that’s how we all know one another. It’s enjoyable,” he says. “It’s a group on the market.”