Last week a pair of hikers from the Appalachian Trail teamed up to give a personal testimony of the power of the walk and describe some of their adventures along the trail. The two are Jeff Kuehne, a VMI graduate from Maryland, and Stephanie Bowen of Charlotte, North Carolina. They met a team of James River teachers this summer along the Trail and were invited to speak at the high school. See our previous post. “The Trail to Every Classroom” project featured several James River teachers including Richard Furman, Lori Sibley and judy Mundy. Their first block classes came to hear the hikers.
Life on the trail was described in terms that made the students chuckle at times; for instance, Tinkerbell’s Castle is a home in Mass. that provides overnight stays and laundry facilities for hikers. The owner’s hiking moniker is “Tinkerbell,” a man, and it is also the hiking moniker for Bowen. The slide scenery was spectacular and at times dangerous — looking for the trail in the New England White Mountains is very rugged indeed! Mostly the talks centered around being in the outdoors, accepting the challenges of the trail and learning a great deal about one’s self on the hike.
Kuehne has hiked the entire trail from Georgia to Maine, and that is approximately 2,178 miles long. Bowen is beginning the southbound leg from Virginia to Georgia after hiking the northbound this summer. Along the trail she met Kuehne and they have hit it off. The love of cinnamon buns is known to hikers of the trail and the James River cafeteria staff came in and made homemade buns for the students and the hikers. A cinnamon bun bonding followed the talk in the school cafeteria!