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  1. #1
    Long Trail '04
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    Thumbs up First 2006 Thru-Hiker profile article...

    First article of a 2006 thru-hiker that i've seen. And its a good one to kick off the season. This 75 yr-old definitely has my respect.


    A rare breed sets out on hike of a lifetime

    <O></O><O>By Howard Meyerson<O></O>
    The Grand Rapids Press <O></O>
    February 10, 2006 <O></O>
    </O>
    On the bed upstairs in Paul Foguth's Grandville home is box of food soon to be sent south by mail. Not to some Louisiana hurricane victim, but to Foguth himself.
    He leaves Tuesday for Springer Mountain Ga., where he will begin a six-month northern trek on the Appalachian Trail.
    <O></O>
    In fact, there are 18 boxes. All to be addressed to a different locale. They contain Snickers and Power Bars, hot-chocolate, freeze-dried food and spare flashlight batteries and maps. You name it.
    <O></O>
    It is the usual fare for a thru-hiker -- the determined individuals who set out to walk the entire 2,170-mile trail in one season.
    <O></O>
    But Foguth is not like the 20-, 30- or even 40-something folks who take on the challenge. Foguth is 75, a rare breed on the old AT.
    <O></O>
    Walked trail once in segments
    <O></O>
    "Most people at 75 wouldn't even contemplate this," said Foguth, who has walked the entire trail once already in segments over 12 years. "I don't know if my body will hold up, but I'm in better shape than I have ever been."
    <O></O>
    Optimistic words for a man who had prostate cancer four years ago and has had serious reconstructive surgery on his foot since. But then most 75-year-old men don't walk nine miles a day, let alone carry a 50-pound pack. Foguth does it nearly every day.
    <O></O>
    "He's always been a walker," said his wife, Barb. "He walks nine miles even when he isn't on the trail. He'll take three walks a day, three miles at a time.
    <O></O>
    "I don't think Paul is your average 75-year-old man."
    <O></O>
    No doubt.
    <O></O>
    Foguth sports an Old Navy T-shirt and a pair of jeans. "The Bull" is his trail name. He relishes it. He signs most e-mails: I am the Bull.
    <O></O>
    Emergency on the trail
    <O></O>
    Mr. Bull walks me into his tiny, second-floor office, a converted closet where three trail photos hang, reminders of his last journey. He points out the finish on the peak of Mount Katahdin in Maine
    <O></O>
    There is no photo of him being helped by an emergency medical team in 1995, when having become seriously hypothermic after walking 31 miles in cold rain, he walked to a road and flagged someone down.
    <O></O>
    "It was serendipity," said Foguth. "They happened to be emergency folks. They picked me up, took me to a motel, got me into a warm shower and I was back on the trail the next day."
    <O></O>
    Mr. Bull's command post is dominated by his computer -- his virtual gateway to the trail, his pipeline to others along it. In a few seconds we are looking at the haze across the Great Smoky Mountains, courtesy of a live-cam in the national park.
    <O></O>
    Foguth points out the peaks in the distance. He knows them well. The trail goes up and down some.
    <O></O>
    "My daughter is betting that I will come home early," says Foguth with a chuckle. <O></O>
    He is a good-natured soul, a spirited individual. He readily admits that he didn't have the stuff to make the entire trip when he was younger.
    <O></O>
    But Foguth says he's now old enough for the task.
    <O></O>
    While many would roll their eyes at this notion, Laurie Potteiger doesn't. She is the information service manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., just about halfway along the trail. She knows Paul Foguth and many others. She knows that something about the trail gets into their blood.
    <O></O>
    "About two percent of the successful thru-hikers are over 65," she said, adding that between 375 to 400 people finish the trail every year.
    <O></O>
    "Of the people who do it in their 70's, about half have done the trail before. If they live long enough, they try to do it as many times as they can."
    <O></O>
    Take Easy One, for instance, Lee Barry's trail name. The North Carolina hiker was 81 when he walked it in 2004 for the fifth time.
    <O></O>
    Earl Shaffer was 79 when he walked it a third time in 1998. Anyone who hikes the AT knows his name. He was the first to thru-hike it in 1948. His third hike was to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
    <O></O>
    Emma Gatewood is another. Better known as Grandma Gatewood, according to Potteiger. The Ohio grandmother with 23 grandkids set the age record for female hikers. She did it in 1955 at the age of 67. She hiked it again in 1960 and then again at age 75 in 1963, making her the first person to hike the trail three times (though her final hike was completed in sections). "She cut an unusual figure among hikers," said Potteiger. "She hiked in Keds (tennis shoes) and carried only a small knapsack."
    <O></O>
    Foguth won't be traveling so light. He is planning for snow at the front end of the trip. Starting in February puts him ahead of the crowds. But it also means more inclement conditions. But it isn't snow in the Smokies that he fears.
    <O></O>
    "Maine is going to be the hardest part. I figure I will pray a lot. There are places there where it is straight up and down and I am scared (to death).
    <O></O>
    "My goal is to do something in the later years of my life that not many people do."
    <O></O>
    Foguth -- no Bull -- has a lock on that. And I for one, wish him the very best on his journey.

    # # #
    Last edited by attroll; 02-11-2006 at 14:07. Reason: Fixed MS characters

  2. #2
    Long Trail '04
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    Not sure why it has all those symbols with the text - here's a link to the article:

    http://www.mlive.com/sports/grpress/...280.xml&coll=6

  3. #3
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    I can only hope I have that energy and drive when I hit 55. Can't imagine it at 75. He has my respect and admiration.

  4. #4
    Registered User neo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavageLlama
    First article of a 2006 thru-hiker that i've seen. And its a good one to kick off the season. This 75 yr-old definitely has my respect.


    A rare breed sets out on hike of a lifetime fficeffice" /><O></O>

    <O></O><O>By Howard Meyerson<O></O>
    The Grand Rapids Press <O></O>
    February 10, 2006 <O></O>
    </O>
    On the bed upstairs in Paul Foguth's Grandville home is box of food soon to be sent south by mail. Not to some Louisiana hurricane victim, but to Foguth himself.
    He leaves Tuesday for Springer Mountain Ga., where he will begin a six-month northern trek on the Appalachian Trail.
    <O></O>
    In fact, there are 18 boxes. All to be addressed to a different locale. They contain Snickers and Power Bars, hot-chocolate, freeze-dried food and spare flashlight batteries and maps. You name it.
    <O></O>
    It is the usual fare for a thru-hiker -- the determined individuals who set out to walk the entire 2,170-mile trail in one season.
    <O></O>
    But Foguth is not like the 20-, 30- or even 40-something folks who take on the challenge. Foguth is 75, a rare breed on the old AT.
    <O></O>
    Walked trail once in segments
    <O></O>
    "Most people at 75 wouldn't even contemplate this," said Foguth, who has walked the entire trail once already in segments over 12 years. "I don't know if my body will hold up, but I'm in better shape than I have ever been."
    <O></O>
    Optimistic words for a man who had prostate cancer four years ago and has had serious reconstructive surgery on his foot since. But then most 75-year-old men don't walk nine miles a day, let alone carry a 50-pound pack. Foguth does it nearly every day.
    <O></O>
    "He's always been a walker," said his wife, Barb. "He walks nine miles even when he isn't on the trail. He'll take three walks a day, three miles at a time.
    <O></O>
    "I don't think Paul is your average 75-year-old man."
    <O></O>
    No doubt.
    <O></O>
    Foguth sports an Old Navy T-shirt and a pair of jeans. "The Bull" is his trail name. He relishes it. He signs most e-mails: I am the Bull.
    <O></O>
    Emergency on the trail
    <O></O>
    Mr. Bull walks me into his tiny, second-floor office, a converted closet where three trail photos hang, reminders of his last journey. He points out the finish on the peak of Mount Katahdin in Maine
    <O></O>
    There is no photo of him being helped by an emergency medical team in 1995, when having become seriously hypothermic after walking 31 miles in cold rain, he walked to a road and flagged someone down.
    <O></O>
    "It was serendipity," said Foguth. "They happened to be emergency folks. They picked me up, took me to a motel, got me into a warm shower and I was back on the trail the next day."
    <O></O>
    Mr. Bull's command post is dominated by his computer -- his virtual gateway to the trail, his pipeline to others along it. In a few seconds we are looking at the haze across the Great Smoky Mountains, courtesy of a live-cam in the national park.
    <O></O>
    Foguth points out the peaks in the distance. He knows them well. The trail goes up and down some.
    <O></O>
    "My daughter is betting that I will come home early," says Foguth with a chuckle. <O></O>
    He is a good-natured soul, a spirited individual. He readily admits that he didn't have the stuff to make the entire trip when he was younger.
    <O></O>
    But Foguth says he's now old enough for the task.
    <O></O>
    While many would roll their eyes at this notion, Laurie Potteiger doesn't. She is the information service manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., just about halfway along the trail. She knows Paul Foguth and many others. She knows that something about the trail gets into their blood.
    <O></O>
    "About two percent of the successful thru-hikers are over 65," she said, adding that between 375 to 400 people finish the trail every year.
    <O></O>
    "Of the people who do it in their 70's, about half have done the trail before. If they live long enough, they try to do it as many times as they can."
    <O></O>
    Take Easy One, for instance, Lee Barry's trail name. The North Carolina hiker was 81 when he walked it in 2004 for the fifth time.
    <O></O>
    Earl Shaffer was 79 when he walked it a third time in 1998. Anyone who hikes the AT knows his name. He was the first to thru-hike it in 1948. His third hike was to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
    <O></O>
    Emma Gatewood is another. Better known as Grandma Gatewood, according to Potteiger. The Ohio grandmother with 23 grandkids set the age record for female hikers. She did it in 1955 at the age of 67. She hiked it again in 1960 and then again at age 75 in 1963, making her the first person to hike the trail three times (though her final hike was completed in sections). "She cut an unusual figure among hikers," said Potteiger. "She hiked in Keds (tennis shoes) and carried only a small knapsack."
    <O></O>
    Foguth won't be traveling so light. He is planning for snow at the front end of the trip. Starting in February puts him ahead of the crowds. But it also means more inclement conditions. But it isn't snow in the Smokies that he fears.
    <O></O>
    "Maine is going to be the hardest part. I figure I will pray a lot. There are places there where it is straight up and down and I am scared (to death).
    <O></O>
    "My goal is to do something in the later years of my life that not many people do."
    <O></O>
    Foguth -- no Bull -- has a lock on that. And I for one, wish him the very best on his journey.

    # # #
    its awesome to see people active in the 70,s and 80's neo

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