Amber Wilson , Chattanooga, Tenn. – For six months of 2013, two of UTC’s alumni traveled across 13 states with only a backpack full of civilization.
College graduates Eli Fowler and Brandon Taylor hiked 2,200 miles starting at Springer Mountain, GA to Mt. Katahdin, ME according to Get Out Chattanooga’s magazine.
The two started their hike March 11 and continued until September 14 with a few excursions on the way.
Throughout the hike the two visited multiple quick stops at gas stations to refill their backpacks with supplies. Among the supplies were pop tarts, ramen noodles, instant potatoes and water.
Lack of water almost caused the two to reconsider their trip.
Both hikers reportedly ran out of water while in New York and the temperature ranged from 97 degrees to 95. Hindered by dehydration they credited their survival to “Trail Angels.”
According to Fowler “trail angels” are people that place supplies throughout a trail. Fowler also added that trail angels are rare.
Both Hikers were unavailable for comment but have a write-up in the December 2013 issue of Get Out of Chattanooga magazine.
Current student Nate Ortiz, junior from Clarksville, hopes to one day brave the Appalachian Trail.
Ortiz heard the story of the two former UTC students and agreed that he would like to try it.
Ortiz is no amateur he hikes the Lookout and Signal mountain trails during his spare time.
“I like to go off the trail to see what else I can find,” Ortiz said.
He added that he enjoys seeing the biological aspect because it correlates with his major, biology.
Ortiz also said that hiking provides a good escape from technology and people though he does not always go alone.
“Camelback, knife, hat, sunglasses, and my dad’s combat boots are what I need to hike,” Ortiz said.
Alec Oziminski, senior from Nashville, said being outdoors is relaxing and he enjoys the scenery.
Oziminski suggests that being a former Boy Scout prepared him to live off the land.
According to Out Chattanooga’s website , hiking is an easy and flexible way to relax and set aside daily pressures, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and get exercise.
The website also shared about the variety of ways a person can hike. “One has the option of strolling for an hour or more, spending hours or all day hiking, or backpacking to create a multi-day hike. Regardless of whether one chooses an easy, moderate, or more strenuous hike, it can be therapeutic to the mind and body,” they said.
UTC outdoors has a variety of outdoor equipment and supplies available to all students and faculty to rent for free. For more information visit UTC Outdoors’s rental page or call 423.425.5750.