‘Nimblewill Nomad’ becomes oldest person to hike Appalachian Trail
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“Once you get in it helps you strengthen yourself,” he said. “The more you commit to it, the more you have to be engaged. “
The trek requires mental resolution, as well as physical. “Eighty percent is mental courage,” Mr. Eberhart said. “And that’s why so many people fail.”
In 2016, Mr. Eberhart lived primarily in a van, using a relative’s home in Missouri as his mailing address.
“Get me out in the fresh air, preferably in the mountains, and you will have a happy camper,” he told The Times in an article describing adventurous retirees.
The trail was closed during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but the number of hikers has returned to pre-pandemic levels this year, said Bowman of conservation. Mr Bowman said registrations for attempts to hike the entire trail in a 12-month period were 3,107 in 2019, but the registration system, which is voluntary, has been on hold for much of 2020 when Covid-19 was in full swing. There were 3,763 registrations this year. “There were a lot of people who had postponed their hikes,” he said.
He said he had known about Mr Eberhart’s hikes for months, but had not spoken to him after recording.
“I hope he’s okay and gets his feet wet,” he said.
Mr Eberhart said he overcomes the pain every day, including the pain in his foot that made him cry. But he often thought of Lance Armstrong, the cyclist, who once said the pain was temporary but abandonment lasted forever.
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