Monday, January 16, 2012

Joe Yantachka Book Published

The Rochester, New York Democrat and Chronicle of 15 January 2012 has an article by staff writer Leo Roth that eulogizes a recent hiker Joe Yantachka under the headline "Do It: Yantachka tamed the unknown; Man's journey by canoe, foot is about much more than the scenery."

Yantachka sounds like quite a guy, and you can read his full story in the recently published book Obdurate Odyssey by freelance colleague Phil Livingston as told by Yantachka with illustrations by Bill Alden. The genesis of the story is that
After a co-worker, an exercise nut who ate all the right foods, died at age 63, Joe Yantachka could no longer ignore the voice inside his head.
That led him to hatch
a plan to build a cedar canoe, paddle it to Florida's Gulf of Mexico, then turn around and walk home via the famed Appalachian Trail, a daunting round-trip of approximately 3,000 miles.
The first leg of the trip begins in 2007 near Cooperstown, NY at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. He paddled down it (crossing under the A.T. which spans the river on the bridge just 'north' of Duncannon, Pennsylvania) to the Chesapeake; then along the coast to Florida and the Gulf. After the 99 day trip, he rested with family for a month, and then headed to Springer to start walking north. He hiked for 6 weeks up into Virginia; got off the Trail for his son's wedding and some shoulder surgery; got back on at Harpers Ferry; and then
A month later he was back in New York and headed toward home along the Finger Lakes Trail when he slipped on a rock and badly sprained his ankle. He called home for a ride just outside Watkins Glen, about 77 miles shy of his doorstep.
The really sad coincidence is that this obviously fit and able man, motivated by the early death (at 63) of his co-worker,
died last June from complications following lung cancer treatment, leaving only this written account to tell his inspiring tale. He was 59.

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