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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Lakeland 20-Year Old Conquers Appalachian Trail

A HIKE OF FAITH
Lakeland 20-Year Old Conquers Appalachian Trail
By Gary White The Ledger

Brandon Hurst remembers the morning he woke up in the woods of Virginia in rainy, 35-degree weather. He hoisted himself out of his tent and began an all-day slog through high winds that pelted him with sleet.

"I remember thinking, `Why am I doing this to myself?' " says Hurst, 20, a student at Southeastern University.

The answer -- that he had pledged to himself at age 14 to make this journey -kept him going through that and other tremulous moments during his solo traverse of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches for 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine.

The Lakeland native reached the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine, the terminus of America's best-known hiking trail, on July 30, five months after heading out from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. Click here for more...