Monday, January 28, 2008

The BEST 'Maryland Challenge' Story Ever

Folks know about the 41 mile 'Maryland Challenge' hike, using the Appalachian Trail to cross that state in a day. And folks hear or tell stories about trying to do it in the middle of a thru-hike, or as part of a group, or whatever. Here's the best story ever about hiking that stretch of Trail in that way:

In the Weddings/Celebrations section of the New York Times dated 27 January 2008, find the names "Laura Brown and Brian Vogt". The article tells the story of their meeting: "Mutual friends from the church introduced them, but each didn’t really know much about the other until a three-day church-sponsored backpacking trip in 2005." And about their courtship. And then gets to the good part:
"He then asked her out on their most ambitious date yet: the Maryland Challenge, a 41-mile day hike on a segment of the Appalachian Trail. When she readily accepted, Mr. Vogt recalled thinking, 'If she is someone who is willing at the drop of the hat to do something crazy like that, that’s one indicator. On a deeper level, she is a person who is adaptable and very comfortable in all sorts of situations and someone who seeks purpose in their life; those are the sort of things that I really admire about her.'

"He scouted out one of the longest days of the year, and on June 9, 2007, the couple set out before dawn.

"'The whole time I’m nervous, of course,' Mr. Vogt said of his proposal plan. 'I can’t do it in the morning; what happens if one of us gets injured or if we just can’t make it?'

"But at mile 29, with blistered feet, a dozen miles to go and nightfall not far off, Mr. Vogt started fumbling in his knapsack for the ring. Once he had it in hand, he said to Ms. Brown, 'This might not be the best time, but. ...'

"Bliss carried them through the final miles, and just before midnight, they stumbled up one last hill to a historic inn in Harpers Ferry, W.Va."
The wedding was 12 January 2008. Congratulations!

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