Hey Suncoast Chapter!
I had an interesting conversation with Ohio based AT through hiker Bob Grau. He is enthusiastic, positive, and I think he has some good things to share...
These presentations are not an official Suncoast FTA event but are sponsored and hosted by the Hillsborough County Public Library System.
Thank you for informing members of the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Trail Association that I will be presenting my program, Five Million Steps: Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail, at select public libraries in Hillsborough County in March 2014
I have a unique story as I was retired and a non-hiker with no hiking gear when I decided to thru-hike the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail. My life-changing journey took 170 days or 5 1/2 months as I hiked through 14 states from Georgia to Maine. Less than 25% of aspiring thru-hikers are successful in completing the very arduous trek. I was severely challenged but not deterred after breaking my ankle in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. To complete the hike, I hobbled the last 380 miles over very treacherous terrain. During the hike, I had over 25,000 hits on the blog I created, and I raised about $7,500 for Alzheimer's Association, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Society for Melanoma Research.
My PowerPoint program informs, entertains using some humor, and truly inspires hikers as well as the general public. It includes a brief history and facts about the Appalachian Trail, the daily planning and logistics required to complete the hike, the process of attaining food, water, and lodging, the reality of dealing with bears, snakes, moose, and other wildlife, and ends with Q & A. I display my tent, briefly discuss my hiking gear, and incorporate many great photos. I have attached three photos to illustrate the visual impact. The first is on McAfee Knob, said to provide the best view in Virginia. The second is on the dangerous Cove Mountain, where one misstep would likely end a hiker's life. The third depicts much of the rocky trail in Pennsylvania---yes, that is actually the trail!
At the conclusion of the presentation, I offer my book, Five Million Steps on a Journey of Hope: Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail, for sale for $15---cash or check. All book proceeds go to benefit Journey of Hope, a local charity that helps adult cancer patients who are in desperate need of financial help. The book was published in March 2013, and over 700 copies have been purchased. In 2013, I presented my program over 40 times in northeast Ohio and Florida. I am pleased that my program has received outstanding evaluations. As a retired college professor, I enjoy speaking to groups and sharing my experience---what I call my "journey of hope" adventure. My passion comes through in my talk! Thanks again for getting out the word of where I will be speaking in the Tampa area in March.