This week, a Manatee County man accomplished a lifelong dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Steve Adams, 61, made the 2,185-mile journey from Georgia to Maine with a 35-pound pack on his back.
Adams completed the six month journey on Monday and returned to his Parrish home shortly after.
“I was so excited,” said Adams. “I was screaming out loud and it was fabulous to do.”
Adams said he wanted to do the trip for more than 17 years after reading Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods."
It was on his bucket list. Adams took the hefty hike from April to September crossing 14 states. The once non-hiker said it was not an easy trip.
“I fell more than 45 times,” said Adams. “One time I fell and lost my footing badly. I fell vertical upside down on some rocks and I screamed out loud. I thought I was going to smash my head on a rock and I just missed it.”
Adams was also bitten by a dog while on the trail and was required to take 10-days off to recover. Determined to finish, he hopped right back on where he left off walking several miles a day.
During the adventure, Adams saw breathtaking views of nature and animals in the wild. He said while he is happy he accomplished this goal, now that he’s home, he’s here to stay.
“That was the last thing on my bucket list,” said Adams. “I will never hike again as long as I live. That was my first and only hike.”
Now 49-pounds lighter, Adams said after being in the woods for six months, it’s a little strange being home again.
The journey was not only about fulfilling a personal goal it was also to help those in need.
Adams started a fundraiser called the Last 2,000 Mile Challenge. Everything he raised is going to the Family Partnership Center in Bradenton, which serves needy families in the area.
Adams has a blog where he posted details of his trip daily: myappalachiantrial.com. He also plans on writing a book about it.
To celebrate his homecoming, the non-profit group is hosting a Wine & Cheese & Steve event on October 9th.
Steve will share his experiences about the journey with the group. It‘s open to the public.