Parkersburg man hikes Appalachian Trail
PARKERSBURG — Everyone has had a bucket list, but how many really just take off from everyday life to pursue those dreams.
Jack Terosky, 23, of Parkersburg did.
Terosky at the time was 22 and had just finished college, when he decided that he wanted to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, measuring 2,190 miles in length, according to the Appalachian Trial website.
The trail travels through 14 states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian Mountain Range from its southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Ga., to the northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.
“It took me five months to hike the trail, and I lost three weeks when I had to get off the trail in Virginia due to heat exhaustion,” said Terosky.
He started his hike on June 1 and finished on Nov.4.
According to its website, it takes the average hiker five to seven months to finish the trail.
Terosky said Virginia was experiencing a drought at the time, and the water source his map had shown was all dried up. He even drank from a mud puddle at some point, filtering the water as best he could.
Terosky said he started out with a friend, but his friend quit day 11 of the hike.
“It just wasn’t for him, but that is OK; it isn’t for everyone,” said Terosky.
Terosky said he trained very little before hitting the trail.
“I was already in good shape, so I bought the gear and walked McDonough (Park in Vienna) with my 40-pound pack for three weeks, but that training did not do the hike justice,” he said.
Terosky said he met a lot of people on the trails and ventured into nearby towns to replenish supplies from time to time.
“The trail is mostly woods, though, and there were many days where I was very isolated,” said Terosky.
Terosky started the trail in West Virginia, and hiked to the northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine, first, then drove back to West Virginia where he then hiked to the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Ga.
“There were multiple times I jumped into a lake to bathe, but that wasn’t always the case,” said Terosky.
Terosky said he would stop at some truck stops near the trail and bathe from time to time as well. As far as sleeping arrangements went, Terosky said he stayed in a one-man tent or the occasional shelter provided on the trail.
“I really do miss how simple it was, but I don’t want to hike the Appalachian again,” said Terosky.
Terosky said he wants to continue hiking trails, but he wants to travel and choose a trail next time that is less wooded and more open space.
“Personally I did not find the woods very scenic and I would prefer a region next time with less rain,” said Terosky.
Terosky said the northern terminus in Maine was “stunning,” though.
Terosky said he enjoyed the hike, but it does have extreme elevation changes and there was tricky weather.
“If you want to do this hike, or really any long hike, one thing to keep in mind is that nature does not care. You really need to be able to roll with the punches. It might rain all day, but you need to keep going,” he said.
Terosky said he had both good and bad days throughout the hike.
“It really helped me to appreciate the little things in life,” he said.
Madeline Scarborough can be reached at email@example.com