Rick Wells, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Thousands set out every year to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Only a small percentage ever finish, but Tulsan Brad Johnson is among that group.
There is great pride in the accomplishment, but beyond that a fundraising goal was surpassed as well.
The trail is almost 2200 miles long, from northern Georgia to Northern Maine.
"Originally I was gonna go 4 months straight on, but like life you make adjustments," Brad said.
He left the trail four times for a couple of family emergencies and for business; all in all he was on the trail 138 days averaging 16 miles a day. "Didn't actually finish until Dec 10th," he said.
Nobody wants to be hiking in Maine in December so he did something called a flip-flop.
"Go to Maine and head south....plus I enjoyed great fall color," Brad said.
Some parts are just brutal, like in Maine where parts of the trail are rock. Sometimes in the fall the trial disappears under the leaves.
The trail is marked, he said, with a white mark on the rocks or trees along the way. He said there were times when he lost the trail and had to back track to find it again.
"I got bit by a spider, my whole face swelled up and I had to leave the trail," he said.
Brad collects hats that represent each of the states he has hiked in, and a pile of hiking shoes on the floor shows how much he has gone through.
"I could out hike guys half my age, not because I was physically stronger, I had motivation, I had a reason to do it," Brad said.
He was raising money for five local charities, and he exceeded the goal.... What's ahead?
"Life's a journey...there's still trails to walk," he said.
The project named AT 2010, A Compassionate Journey had a fundraising goal of $100,000. The goal has been passed but you can still be a part of it.