There’s news from Sunny on his progress, but since these posts are drawing a lot of attention, let’s provide a recap first.
This is Adam, now using the trail name Sunny. My friend developed Multiple Sclerosis years ago. Despite some flare ups that were severe enough that all gave up hope of his surviving he’s lived actively for years. Sunny has always been an outdoorsman, and despite his condition fit. So he decided he wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail while his health is still good.
This spring he hiked Pennsylvania, and stopped at Wind Gap because of a minor MS flareup. In June, after taking me on my second backpacking trip, I dropped him off at Wind Gap so he could resume his journey north.
Sunny found the trail and the heat taking a lot out of him, and he took a day off before crossing the Delaware River. Hot weather is very hard on people with MS, as it aggravates their symptoms and increases their fatigue. As part of his medical treatment he has to come off trail once a month, and after hiking partway into New Jersey he took this opportunity to spend time with his family. Since then he’s completed hiking the trail in New Jersey, New York, part of Connecticut, and Vermont. He’s skipped part of the Nutmeg State and Massachusetts so he can keep on schedule to get to the trail’s end on Mount Katahdin before the mountain closes for the season in October. Once he’s stood atop Katahdin he will figure out how to get in the rest of the trail, including the states from Maryland south to Georgia.
Sunny’s last update was that he’d climbed Mount Lafayette, and while his legs were sore they weren’t so sore that he’d stop. He had been hiking fifteen to twenty mile days, but I’m not sure of his mileage now. (He’s trying to preserve his cell phone charge, so updates are short and infrequent when he’s on the trail. According to Wikipedia, Mount Lafayette is over five thousand feet tall and one of the most prominent mountains in New England. Here is the panorama photo Wikipedia uses in its article on the mountain.
Tomorrow Sunny takes on the highest mountain in the Northeastern United States. The Appalachian Trail crosses the summit of Mount Washington, towering 6,288 feet above sea level. The most difficult sections of the trail are New Hampshire and Maine, which is one reason south to north hiking is so common – it lets you build up the legs and the experience before you face the Presidential range and Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness.
I have full confidence Sunny will be standing atop Mount Katahdin this fall. As he nears the end point I’ll continue to post updates on his progress.