Blind Hiker Plans to Hike The Entire Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Mike Hanson is a blind hiker who intends to make a thru-hike on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail this spring and summer.

Hundreds of hikers set out along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia, come springtime with sights set on reaching Mount Katahdin in Maine before summer expires. But how many are blind?

Mike Hanson, using only GPS technology and a white cane, planned to head north last week. He plans to reach trail's end in "six to eight months."

Why embark on such a trek? On his website, Mr. Hanson explains that roughly 70 percent of those who are visually impaired are unemployed. "This hike is intended to make a dramatic statement about the independence of the visually impaired, to change myths about our competence and abilities, and to demonstrate the power of GPS and other adaptive technologies to support our independence," he adds.

While Mr. Hanson planned to update his blog from the trail, there hasn't been a post since March 1. If we see any updates, we'll pass word along.

Comments

With all the snow and ice we've had this winter, the mountains of Georgia
are not easy to negotiate. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy on their
Facebook page has asked hikers to consider waiting a little while longer to start their
thru-hike. Maybe that's what Mike is doing.
Danny

Wow! This is an impressive undertaking and I wish Mike the best of luck.

Rap

I don't know how many blind hikers have hiked the AT, but I do know it has been done before.

I think Bill Irwin was the first: http://www.fred.net/kathy/at/irwin.html

A google search turns up others as well: http://www.timesleader.com/features/Blind_hiker_travels_the_Appalachian_Trail_12-14-2008.html