A moonlight hike. A few beers. Sleep. Shower. Food.
Submitted by Marit Fischer on Mon, 09/29/2008 - 14:00
Karl and Billy hiked the last .9 mile to the top of Springer in the early morning moonlight. They stopped halfway up to crack open some beers, and then walked together slowly to the summit where Cheryl and Senior were waiting for them.
"Karl's a very happy man," said Billy. "He's so happy to be done. And I think he's really proud of himself for finishing this. He should be, man. To go on when the record was out of reach takes a man with some big balls and a big will. But he did it."
I talked to Billy a little before noon Eastern Time. Karl and the crew had all taken long naps and some good "real" showers and were headed out to find the "first best damn restaurant we can find."
Later today, Karl, Cheryl and Billy are driving to Memphis in The Rig to deliver Billy back home. Karl and Cheryl will stay the night there, celebrating with Billy and friends, before they head back West tomorrow.
I may hear from Karl this afternoon when they're on the road. If he doesn't sleep the whole way. If I do, I'll share some of his thoughts on the finish.
For now, though, that's a wrap. It's been a long, good, hard, entertaining, hackle-raising, inspiring, remarkable journey. And now it's over.
Huge thanks to all of Karl's crew, running mates and from-The-Rig supporters: Billy Simpson, Cheryl Meltzer, Karl Senior, Pam Meltzer, Matt Hart, Marit Fischer, Tommy Chandler, Jonny Atencio, Justin Barrell, Porscha Doucette, Greg Goodson, Sarah McConkie, John DeWalt, David Horton and High School Randy.
Thanks to all of you we met along the way, who shared your love and generosity with us: Trail Angel Mary, JJ, Lone Wolf, Mark and Erin Peters, Zig Zag June, Lane Vogel and the countless but unforgettable others who stopped in to say hello or to cheer Karl on his journey.
Thanks to all the supporters of the bearded variety, men and women alike. (The final beard tally, by the way, is 163.)
Thanks to all of Karl's AT thru-hike sponsors: Backcountry.com, Marmot, Moeben, SPOT, La Sportiva, V.I.O., First Endurance and Nathan Packs. You made this happen. Thanks also to PowerBar and nuun for the treats you sent to keep Karl going.
And to the Where's Karl? home team at Backcountry.com, you guys rock.
Most of all, thank you to all who visited this blog each day, whether you shared your comments or not. We're glad you came.
Now go hike your own hike.