Steve Reynolds looking ahead to Appalachian Trail journey in April

In 2014, Steve Reynolds began a journey he dreamed about given that childhood. The Winslow indigenous was seeing a PBS software with his more mature brother Mark Reynolds about the Appalachian Path, the 2,200-mile journey from Stone Mountain, Ga to Mt. Katahdin at Baxter State Park. For yrs, the brothers would converse about getting the legendary hike. Reynolds remembers strolling in the woods with his brother “practicing” it.  

By the time Steve Reynolds was ready for that legendary hike, he was 40. He took time off from his firms, Patriot Flooring in Boothbay and T.J.’s Vintage Billiards pool hall in Waterville, and headed to Georgia. His brother experienced died years earlier in a bike incident, so Reynolds began the journey by itself. Even with the challenges of running two businesses, Reynolds assumed the time was appropriate for the prolonged anticipated hike.

“I wasn’t receiving any younger and, also, I did it for my well being,” he explained.  “I felt good afterwards. Right after climbing a thirty day period with a 50-pound backpack on my back again each and every working day, I felt I could jump, and touch the sky when I got property.”

Reynolds uncovered a lesson on the path that other Appalachian Path hikers also found out. “You understand to hike your individual hike,” Reynolds stated. “If a minor outdated lady and Marine begin the exact same working day, she goes at a slower rate, and walks 3 miles a day. He may well stroll 20 miles per working day, but it is intense and he might damage himself, and 6 months later, the pressure may just take a toll she finishes since she doesn’t overtax herself.”

Early in his hike, Reynolds witnessed a familiar sight alongside the Appalachian Path. At one particular of the to start with rest stops, he observed himself at a hostel and a provision store referred to as Neel’s Hole. In a nearby dumpster, he uncovered it complete with merchandise thrown out by hikers. “An early lesson is you pack light. The dumpster was total with new tools: frying pans, machetes, you identify it. After a several miles, hikers understand how complicated mountain mountaineering is, and the added pounds can make it far more hard.”

On his initial trek, Reynolds planned  hiking with a team he fulfilled on the web, but his flight was delayed. So Reynolds started out by itself in Springer Mountain in Ga.  In his backpack, Reynolds packed two pair of wool socks, hiking boots, camp footwear (for resting his ft) and a tent. Alongside the way, he caught up to other hikers and built close friends. Two of the extra unforgettable companions were Ron Kalenda from New Jersey and a retired Wisconsin postal worker. Reynolds doesn’t try to remember the postal worker’s name, but most people on the trail has a nickname and hikers identified as him “Owl.” 

“On the trail, they named me ‘Godfather’ mainly because I hung out with Ron who had this thick New Jersey accent proper out of “The Sopranos.” Ron had a large spider print on his shirt, so they identified as him Spider. I really don’t bear in mind why they named him ‘Owl,’ but he was tall, and in fantastic condition from providing mail for years,” Reynolds stated. 

In his trio, Reynolds favored traveling at a quicker pace and required to press the length farther than his companions. A person day, he was calling house and inspired his buddies to depart devoid of him. “I knew I’d catch them just after my simply call ended. So I double-timed it down the trail, and in an hour I observed them.”

Owl and Spider experienced established up camp for the night. On arriving, Reynolds found out his buddies built the “Cardinal sin” of hiking. The two positioned their food stuff bag in a tree also close to their camp. After arriving, Reynolds didn’t want to argue the stage so he saved his food stuff at the harmful location. That evening, Reynolds witnessed why hikers store their foodstuff more than 50 yards away. About midnight, Reynolds heard bears making an attempt to steal their meals. “I heard noises, and peaked out my tent,” he reported. “I saw a bear and her cubs shaking the tree, and Ron and Owl were being loud night breathing.”

In the early morning, Reynolds told his mates about the unwelcome guests. “I told them about the bears, and a truck comprehensive of ‘good ol’ boys’ who threw beer cans scaring them off. They did not believe that me right up until we walked and observed the cans, and bear marks on the tree.” Reynolds ended his trek just after achieving Irwin, Tennessee which is about 400 miles along the trail.

In the course of an additional house mobile phone get in touch with, Reynolds recognized he was necessary in Waterville to solve an ongoing problem at the pool corridor. Seven years later, Reynolds needs an additional possibility to hike the famous path. Regardless of the coronavirus, his flooring organization is carrying out good, but the pool corridor is battling owing to social distancing limits. Reynolds is anxious to start his hike this April. In 2020, hostels together the trail were closed thanks to the coronavirus. In 2021, the hostels are open, but Appalachian Trail officials are discouraging hikers. 

“I truly feel like it’s time to get out there,” he claimed. “The massive situation is COVID-19. Path officials are not recognizing hikers who finish this yr, but I’m likely anyway. It is like very last time. If not now, then when?”