View Full Version : Article on 2006 Thru-hiker from Harrisburg, PA Patriot-News

05-30-2006, 08:44
Woman hikes trail for charity

Solo trip proves painful for adventurer from Dillsburg
Sunday, May 28, 2006 BY BLAIR SABO
Of The Patriot-News

With more than 30 pounds on her back, her feet throbbing, the rain soaking her or the sun burning her, Terry Croteau has hiked more than 550 miles, often with no one in sight and with the end nearly four months away.
The Dillsburg woman has been hiking the Appalachian Trail solo since March 21 to raise money for The Hershey Co.'s program to aid the Children's Miracle Network.

Croteau, 54, known as "Bluebird" to fellow hikers, is expected to finish the 2,175-mile trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, in September or October. She prepared for the trip for almost a year, purchasing gear, drying food and taking care of financial matters, such as selling her house.
http://ads.nj.com/RealMedia/ads/adstream_nx.ads/www.nj.com/xml/story/Patriot_News/ne/news/@StoryAd?x (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/)Croteau said she has always wanted to hike the trail. However, her decision to attempt it was not just for self-satisfaction.
She decided to hike for charity because, as she said, "Why waste my miles?"

"I knew CMN worked specifically with children's diseases and problems. It was a good fit for me," she said. Twenty-six years ago, Croteau gave birth to her first son, Aaron, who died within five months from biliary atresia, a liver disorder.

Croteau's experiences on the trail can be found at www.trailjournals.com, with the help of Diane "Journey" Manning. Manning, of Beaver Falls, said that after completing her hike in 2003, she continued talking with other hikers through the Web site, which is how she got to know Croteau.

"I started reading Terry's journal and decided to offer to help her," Manning said. Croteau uses a PocketMail device to send her journal entries and photos via telephone to Manning, who posts the information online.
Manning said she thinks it's wonderful that Croteau is hiking for charity.
"It brings light to the tragedy that families go through," she said. "You truly never know when the next dime will bring a cure."

http://ads.nj.com/RealMedia/ads/adstream_nx.ads/www.nj.com/xml/story/Patriot_News/ne/news/@StoryAd?x (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/)Manning and Croteau didn't meet until a week ago at the Trail Days celebration in Damascus, Va. "When we finally met, it was like I knew her already, I had been talking to her for so long," Croteau said. "She is an absolute godsend to me. She has helped make my trip so much easier."
Manning said Croteau has what it takes to finish. "She is so strong," Manning said.

Croteau said the most challenging part of the hike is dealing with pain.
"Not a day goes by that something doesn't hurt," Croteau said. "But it's hard to remember how bad it was in Georgia. You realize how out of shape you were then and how in shape you are now." The hike is also challenging mentally. "Just knowing that you have a deadline of miles to complete each day is tough," she said. One day she walked nonstop for 11 hours. Croteau is expected to follow the trail through the Boiling Springs area in July.

Her mother, Sara Shenefelt, said she is proud of her daughter. "I'll definitely be there when she finishes the trail." Croteau worked for The Hershey Co. for 17 years and has two children, Jack in Hershey and Sarah in San Francisco. In 2004, Terry Croteau painted the mural on the Theatre Harrisburg production center at Sixth and Hurlock streets.

So far, she has raised about $700. "I hope they raise a load of money," she said. "The sky's the limit."