In the most recent episode of, one of my favorite podcasts, The Dirtbag Diaries they made a call to action for help. They received a call from a woman, named M’Lynn, in Australia looking for help on how to reach hikers and to share the story of her husband Paul.
She described Paul as a large, kind man who loved the outdoors and who had one dream, to one day travel from Australia to the United States and Hike the 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately, like with many of us, life got in the way of Paul’s dream. First he stayed to care for his mother in her final years as she died from Parkinson’s disease. Then his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, in which he again took on the task of caring for him.
During that time he developed a heart condition that eventually led to his death at age 53 this past July. Up until his death he studied the Appalachian Trail constantly and dreamed about the day he would finally complete it. He stockpiled the equipment and planned out every detail, only to never get a chance.
After his passing M’Lynn donated his equipment to a local Boy Scout troop but kept his three pairs of boots. She described how he would lovingly polish these boots over and over making sure they were ready for an adventure.
Now in honor of Paul’s memory she would like to see his boots complete the trek. Paul was a large man so the boots are size 13’s, but even if you cannot fit them you can volunteer to carry them. All she asks is that you take pictures of the boots along the Appalachian Trail and send the photos back to her.
To help with the logistics of this task Duct Tape Then Beer Productions (The people behind The Dirtbag Diaries) and REI have teamed up to get the boots to volunteers and coordinate their journey up the trail.
So if you plan to do any hiking on the Appalachian Trail this year please volunteer to carry or wear these boots on your trip. For more information and to volunteer you can go to Paul’s Boots page. Also take time to listen to the episode and hear the story of Paul as told by M’Lynn.