Sunday, September 27, 2009

Unemployed hikers tackle the Appalachian Trail

Trailing Indicators: Out of a Job, Some Decide to Take a Hike, a recent Wall Street Journal piece, highlights unemployed Americans who are hiking the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. Dan Kearns, a 32-year-old unemployed construction worker, is one of the hikers on the trail, bartering work for food along the way.
"I wouldn't do this if I was employed," the New Jersey native explains. "I couldn't find any work, so I just decided to take a walk."
View a video about the hikers here.

The piece also dredges up the June news story of South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford, who claimed he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when he was actually having an affair in Argentina. The term "hiking the Appalachian" is now used as a slang term for having an affair, reports The Rural Blog, with the Urban Dictionary even offering suggested uses of the phrase ("Why is Bob's wife angry with him?" "He got caught hiking the Appalachian, if you know what I mean.").


MIke said...

I guess if you are unemployed and don't need money hiking the Appalachian Trail would be an excellent idea! I hiked a portion of it when I was younger and had a blast.

Anonymous said...

This New York Times article makes the point that if these folks are hiking while they collect unemployment, they could lose their benefits (since they aren't actively seeking work) much for an incentive to see and appreciate our natural resources.

Bill Bryson's A Walk in Woods has pages and pages of interesting things to say about the AT. Germane to ruralism, Bryson talks about how the government, when constructing the trail, settled on making the AT "a wilderness trail." This meant that they bought up huge swaths of rural land on either side of the trail corridor, to separate the trail from the human landscape. Bryson, coming from England where trekking routes pass through pastoral landscapes, ponders about the irony of a trail that goes through rural America and actively tries to avoid rural America. The book is a great read, although Californians should be forewarned that it talks about places where it rains all year round and where blackberry service is probably unavailable.

Appalachian Trail said...

Nice article. The Appalachian Trail is a adventure enthusiasts, you can see nature trail some never seen before. Appalachian Trail is a 2200 miles trek, From Georgia to Maine you can see many natural surrounding like mountains, laurel pastoral lands and dense forests. South of New England you can see poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, Lizards are also running on the rock. visit national parks to see wild animal. Appalachian Trail is a best place for research of temperate zone species allover the world.

Spec said...

I also have read Bryson's book and loved it. My first thought was how the unemployed afford to hike the AT? Does this also lend credence to our idea of the romantization of the rural because most people who hike the AT are not "country-folk" but Urban dwellers trying to find that lost connection to the wild.