I had the opportunity in a gathering called Billy Goat Day that celebrates the Florida Trail to meet several "trail legends." I heard the term often and wondered what parameters would give one the title of trail legend?
Take these gentlemen that were present at Billy Goat Day.
|Billy Goat and Nimblewill Nomad along with the Florida Trail Guide author Sandra Friend|
On the left is Billy Goat, whose birthday is celebrated annually in late January along the Florida Trail. He has hiked over 50,000 miles, and his infectious enthusiasm for adventure and the trail remains a catalyst for all hikers. He spoke kindly to me at a hiker gathering one fall in 2016, displaying great interest for the hike that I accomplished with my teen son on the Appalachian Trail and the one I soon planned to embark on - hiking the length of the Florida Trail.
On the right is Nimblewill Nomad, the perpetual hiker, who has completed all the national scenic trails including hiking across the US and has written books about his adventures. He now oversees a camp on Flagg Mountain, greeting hikers starting or completing Alabama's Pinhoti Trail.
Lastly is Jim Kern, a trail visionary who, in 1966, wanted a long distance hiking trail in Florida. Through his passion and hiking, he sparked the creation of the Florida National Scenic Trail stretching from the Everglades to the Gulf Islands and the Alabama border.
So what constitutes a trail legend?
Hiking? Sure, but a hiker who goes over and beyond a casual trip. These are diehard hikers that have accomplished great feats on the trail. But more importantly, they are hikers that wish to spread their enthusiasm for all things wild and a wild hike to others so they also might enjoy an adventure. It is those that have not kept their great feats a secret unto themselves but encourage others to make a journey of a lifetime. And that is a legend worth celebrating.
Want to read about my wild adventures? Check out my Hiking Adventure Series!
The Florida Trail