Month: April 2017

In early November 2013, John Bock had a triple bypass following a completely unexpected heart attack. He and his wife, Melody, had planned to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from March 2014—which is what they did. They flip-flopped and completed their adventure at Harpers Ferry in November 2014, just over a year after the news that would have postponed, or even abandoned the dreams of less determined people.




Their remarkable story, along with the radical lifestyle that they have since adopted, is told in this interview. They are homeless by choice, fearless, and ever moving forward, refusing to stop their enviable lifestyle. Melody even had the time to give me a botany lesson on the trail, identifying plants as we walked by until she pointed out something that she referred to as a Lady Slipper, but which, to me, would always be known as Vasectomy Surprise.


John and Melody would be happy to hear from old friends and fellow hikers at, while they can also be found on Facebook. Click either John or Melody.


Their journey wasn’t easy, but they made many friends along the way and proved, yet again, that the trail can get you through your toughest days if you keep moving forward.



Attie continues to revel in the trail, though this week she had her first setback. When she told me about it I was worried for her but she just shrugged it off and got on with it. Her perseverance was rewarded with a really sweet dollop of trail magic, administered by one of our wonderful, caring listeners. Thanks, Casey.


In Fear and Loathing, Gary Sizer confesses to his worries about having a damp hike, and admits to his doubts along the way as he got closer to Katahdin. You can read about Gary’s journey by going to his Amazon page for Where’s the Next Shelter? It is a really funny read and one that I highly recommend.


Please consider supporting the show by becoming a patron at Patreon. Thanks to those of you who have already done so.


As this is my show, I thought I’d get myself interviewed and, in the absence of any questions from my listeners, I went ahead and asked Diane, my lovely wife, to interview me. She asked me a few things I hadn’t really thought too much about and, listening back as I edited the show, I realized how much I’d changed in the past few years. The thought say, ten years ago, that somebody would one day interview me about hiking was as likely as somebody asking Kim Kardashian the nuances of nuclear fission. It just wouldn’t happen.


I was able to reflect further on my own hike, as well as my upcoming trip back onto the AT and my real task for the year of my second (and probably last) attempt at the John Muir Trail. I’ll be blogging about that journey and eventually writing a book about it.


You should know my email address by now, but you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. I love to hear from people and always respond.
Atticus (Jessa / Attie) is through the Smokies and continues to have a blast. She seems to be having the best of the weather in this rather unpredictable year.

Fear and Loathing this week is a longer than normal interview, with Gabe Burkhardt (Hermes or Sketch). He talks of the importance of finishing his 2016 hike and the internal precipice he found himself on the edge of during that hike. This is a powerful conversation that you may consider unsuitable for children. Read Gabe’s excellent blog. He pulls no punches and illustrates his stories with great sketches.

Thanks as ever for supporting the show, either on Patreon or buying my books. I’m so grateful to everybody for their support. Remember, you can also get my free e-book, Hiking the Appalachian Trail is Easy: Especially if You’ve Never Hiked Before, by going to my author’s site, and leaving your name and email address.

When Jean Sobus decided that she was going to hike the Appalachian Trail, she didn’t let a little thing like plantar fasciitis stand in her way. In much the same way, stage 3 breast cancer wasn’t going to deter her from the Pacific Crest Trail. Jean’s solution to obstacles and negativity is to go for a very long walk. Her adventures included a 60-mile walk through the night, fueled by espresso milkshake, and an encounter with what she believed to be a mountain lion. She suffered spine fractures while undergoing chemo to treat her cancer, yet chose to find her cures on the trails of America, inspiring others with her fight. The picture below was taken just after finishing the Appalachian Trail, when she’d discovered her cancer diagnosis. One week later, she lost all her hair.



Undeterred, Jean took part in bike rides to raise money for charity, and this speech is a great example of her refusal to be defined, or even slowed, by her cancer. She even shared a video of her dancing in a gorgeous blond wig and removing it mid dance. Battling her illness all the way, she completed the Pacific Crest Trail in 2015, two thirds of the way to a Triple Crown.




You can email Jean at, and find her on Facebook.


Jessa, or Atticus, is now past the 150-mile mark and continues to show her sunny disposition as she makes her way north. This week, she’s about to climb into the Smokies. Remember to follow her blog, which she updates regularly.


Clay Bonnyman Evans gives us his fears before setting out, with rain right at the top of the list. As you can read in Clay’s blog, he needn’t have worried.


Thanks to those of you who have supported the show at Patreon. I truly appreciate it.


Trevor Thomas was an adrenaline junkie in his mid-thirties when he started to lose his sight. Six months later, he was completely blind. After a spell of understandable bitterness, Trevor refused to allow his new circumstances to define him. Approaching the logistical issues with a precise attention to detail, he set out on a new journey. This has led him to hike nearly 20,000 miles in the past ten years. His story is inspiring, as is his mission to empower blind and visually impaired young adults while challenging the misconceptions the sighted community has toward the blind. He founded Team FarSight Foundation, Inc. to achieve this goal in 2014. Since 2012, Trevor has been accompanied on his many adventures by his remarkable companion, Tennile.



There are many ways to contact Trevor; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as through his website. He and Tennile continue to inspire those of us who often take our physical well-being for granted.



Jessa is now in her first 100 miles and enjoying every minute. Don’t forget to follow her blog, which you can reach here. I caught up with her a couple of times this week.


James Claiborne, another guest from a previous episode, shares his pre-hike concerns. They proved to be groundless as he reveled in the companionship of the trail.


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