|Centre students report on their Appalachian Trail adventure
RELEASED: April 15, 2004
DANVILLE, KY(Centre junior Heather Hauntz, a staff writer for The Cento, Centre's student newspaper, recently attended a convocation in which a pair of Centre students spoke about their experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail last year. The following is her account of the event.)
Kinzel, a junior at Centre, and Mallman, who will return to Centre as a junior this fall after taking the year off, hiked 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail last year. The trail crosses 13 states from Georgia to Maine.
"Essentially you move to the wilderness," says Mallman, of Nashville, Tenn. "The woods are your homeyou live there, eat there and sleep there."
The pair began hiking together in Georgia in March of 2003, but decided to split up in mid-May to finish the trail separately. Kinzel completed the journey in early August, and Mallman finished about two weeks later.
They enjoyed each other's company, and they discovered that their different hiking styles were also a complement to their individual physical and spiritual needs.
"I needed the adventure of doing something unknown, and I needed to come alive," says Kinzel, of Shamong, N.J. "I hadn't fully experienced the love of God until I was out there."
Mallman discovered that he enjoyed hiking at a slightly slower pace so he could reflect on the experience of being "fully engulfed by wilderness."
Braving mountains, rocks and meadows, Kinzel and Mallman began their adventure by hiking eight to 10 miles per day and gradually worked their way up to 20 to 25 miles per day.
They burned about 6,000 calories each day. This required them to eat plenty of sugary, fatty foods to ensure energy and endurance.
The men carefully mapped out their journey and stopped at certain towns where packages of foodsent by their parentsawaited them after long treks on the trail.
For more than five months they ate dried fruits, Pop-Tarts and dehydrated foods such as Ramen noodles and Lipton rice. Though they packed a reported 792 candy bars and ate constantly for energy, Mallman lost about 20 pounds in the first week of their journey.
The men faced such challenges as hiking a 70-mile trail of rocks in Pennsylvania, a close encounter with a timber rattlesnake and a lightning storm. They even hitched a ride in the dark, empty trailer of an 18-wheel semi-truck when Kinzel needed to see a doctor following an asthma attack.
But no matter the obstacles, they said they were glad they made the decision to hike the trail.
"It was a chance to be wrapped up in something greater than ourselves," Mallman says. "It wasn't saving lives or feeding the hungry, but it made us come alive."
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