While many people are nursing hangovers this morning, Samuel Gardner has slightly more ambitious plans for the first day of the new year.
Today, the 25-year-old from Michigan will launch a 12,500-mile journey across the great trails of the United States.
Self-dubbed the “All-In Trek,” Gardner plans to establish a new record of unassisted ultra-light long-distance backpacking. This first ever attempt involves solo hiking the four longest hiking trails in the United States, back-to-back continuously, without any time off. He hopes to complete this trek in just one year!
The four trails Gardner plans to tackle are the North Country Trail, Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.
The journey will begin on the North Country Trail, hiking west from New York to North Dakota along the northern US border. This will be the second time in the history of the NCT that it will be through hiked during the winter. Next he'll hike the Pacific Crest Trail, starting at the U.S./Mexico border in California, and hiking north to the Canadian border in Washington. Next up is the the Continental Divide Trail from the U.S./Canada border, and then south through the Rockies to New Mexico. The final leg will be the Appalachian Trail, hiking it from Maine to Georgia.
What’s Gardner’s reason for tackling this trek?
“I am doing this for me. I am doing this for the people who wish they could but physically cannot. I am doing this for the people who are alone and unsupported. I am doing this for those who dream. I am doing this for those who have forgotten their dreams. I am doing this for those who have sacrificed dreams to support others. I am doing this to share with the ones who cannot be there. I am doing this for the story. I am doing this for the adventure. I am doing this to show what is possible.”
Sam will be providing updates via his website. You can also track him using the Google map application he's set-up on his site.