Hikers visit Elizabethtown Rotary Club

ELIZABETHTOWN — Carol and Lou Plummer visited the Elizabethtown Rotary Club and talked about hiking the Appalachian Trail for their honeymoon in 2013.

Lou Plummer, who is employed by the Harnett County Board of Education, said he and Carol Plummer were married on the first day of their hike.

“I work for a board of education and did not have six months to take off. So I saved up and applied for a leave of absence and got it,” said Lou Plummer.

He presented a Power Point presentation of photos from their hike, one of which showed a photo where he posed with a sign at the foot of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

Over 100 people have died on this mountain, according to Lou Plummer. He said the couple climbed the mountain on July 4, 2013.

He added that winds that day were about 60 mph when they climbed it.

Plummer said that they also encountered bears and snakes in Virginia.

“Bears don’t eat people, they eat hikers’ food,” said Plummer.

He said that he is often asked if the couple carried a gun or knife and the answer is no. Plummer said those two things are a hazard. He said that he served in an infantry and learned that the weight of a rucksack was important and carrying these items makes the rucksack heavier. Instead the couple carried a single edge razor blade.

Plummer said the trail runs from Springer Mountain, Ga,. to Maine and takes 156 days to hike. He said that 25 percent of trail is in Virginia, but that the mountains of New England were the most beautiful.

He said the couple reached the halfway point on May 5, 2013, in Harper’s Ferry, Va., and the trail ends at Katahdin.

Plummer said that there are 80,000 trail markers between Georgia and Maine and there are 13 autonomous groups taking care of the trails. He said that even with the trails marked, one can get lost. He said there are shelters located just off the trails.

Plummer said the couple would walk between 15 to 20 miles per day.

He said there were places along the trail where one can stop and sleep or stop and eat. He also said that when it would rain, one had to walk in their wet clothes, wet socks and shoes. Plummer said that sometimes the trail would be flooded or washed out and you would have to go off the trail and work your way around.

After the couple completed the trail to Maine they made it back to Harpers Ferry, where they began their journey south.

Plummer said sometimes the couple would sleep in their tent or they would sleep in shelters along the trail. He said they also spent some of their time in Hostels along the trail that folks operated. These could consist of a barn, a room in someone’s basement or house.

Plummer said they began their trip having food and other necessities shipped to them. He said the couple soon decided to not to do that and pick up what they needed along the way. Plummer added water can come from creeks, water pipes or drop out of rocks. He said that there are various ways the water can be purified for drinking.

Plummer said walking the entire trail is equal to climbing Mount Everest 26 times.

He said they encountered a menagerie of animals including bears, moose, porcupine, rattlesnake, ponies in Virginia, deer, and a cow. He said the American Field Mouse is the most feared animal on the trail. Plummer said the mouse will climb into your sleeping bag or even your beard.

Plummer said they prepared themselves for the hike by taking weekends doing backpacking trips.

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