Giving Back = Great Trail Karma

Part of my AT journey was first announcing my goal to family and friends. I used social media to do this. A friend of mine, told me a fellow retired military friend had started the AT and he would let him know that I’d like to follow him so he would friend me. Besides my daily training, my day’s highlight was to see where Eric “ Mav”Eric”k Wilcox was and how his day went. I encouraged him and he opened the door for all my questions. I refrained and told Eric I’d wait till he was thru and barrage him with questions, meanwhile, enjoy your journey! A month or so after Eric summited Kathadin, we set a date to meet up at his home in Tampa. Eric patiently spent the day answering questions and giving my pack a great shakedown. I listened intently to all of his advice and valued his time and expertise.  Over the planning months, Eric made workout suggestions, provided nutritional information and suggested his “don’t miss favorite stops and experiences” on the AT! He was an exceptional mentor and I greatly value his friendship and advice. Thanks MavERICk!

The desire to thru hike is so strong, every one of my eventual tramily members left as solo hikers with the singular goal of backpacking north to summit Kathadin. Though we were all solo, we were all supported by our amazing family and friends and along the way – each other! The trail is an amazing place, solitude, beauty, challengesand surprises! Some of my fondest memories that surpass sunrises, sunsets and a million sparkling stars are the people and experiences. Meeting new hikers, catching up with old friends, meeting trail angels and experiencing trail magic is unbelievable. If you gave me a like or comment on FB, The Trek or Instagram. Or a kind reply – you were an integral part of my personal journey. Meeting you, communicating with you or reuniting was a deeply special experience that I will always cherish! For this I am Eternally grateful


 (this was a note I sent to Hostels, outfitters and friends I met along the way with my postcard)

I wish to “Thank my bride”, Denise for all of her support. Her efforts were amazing- too many drop boxes to count, supply shopping, last minuet shoe requests and amazon purchases, etc… she is my rock and made my journey go seamlessly and I truly couldn’t have done it without her. She held down the fort and kept my focus on hiking and that’s not an easy job! Another shout out my buddy and neighbor Ray for helping Denise and running to the post office for us ! Even buying flowers for Denise (for me) when she had a hard day. Our youngest daughter Haley for her support, helping with resupply, helping Denise with many tasks and keeping the house running! Also helping on the home front, our friend Marion and my mother in-law Chris for picking me up in New Jersey, helping Denise and dog sitting Collin! Trail support was provided by the following angels; Michael & Barbara Cordisco, Shelby & John Hardin, Jean & Kevin Rawlin’s, Grandma Jane, Dave & Max ( Lucky’s family), my buddy from grade school – Mark Severson and Brenda, Paula Sutherland ( Haley’s sorority sister), Greg Nichols, Greg Scheuler, Julian “Swede” Casola, Christine & Eric Trevorrow, Todd & Aida Cochran, Don & Rita Snively, Kerby & Cindy Loukes, John & Mary Smith ( Farmers in-laws), Debbie Van Etten ( my sister) last but no means least – my hiking warriors and team Catmando – Mark & Kathy Duchesne – my hiking Family! Trail legends; Fresh Ground, Flip Wilson, AT Gracie and Tom Lavardi! You guys are all beyond amazing!

My Tramily, for unyielding support, encouragement., friendship and borderline harassment for my pack size and snoring! Unbelievable trail memories, laughs and amazing fun times from these awesome, bad ass thru hikers; Lucky, Togs, Frozen, Murica, Resident Daddy (RD) and Farmer !The AT hiking community for your gracious support and encouragement.

I want to close my last AT blog by “Thanking You “– for following, I hope you enjoyed my journey as much as I have. I hope to inspire you to adventure outdoors, whether it’s a day hike or a long hike – enjoy God’s beauty and creation. I also want to avail myself to help in any capacity I can. Either use the Trek e-mail platform or FB – JC Van Etten- messenger to contact me!


Happy Trails !


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Comments 4

  • Mav"Eric"k : Jul 31st

    Well done! It was great to follow along!

  • John : Jul 31st

    Congrats! Loved following along on your hike with your blog and watching it some on Outdoor Adventures.

  • Dennis A Turner : Aug 1st

    Wonderful writing and logging. Thanks for the trip and congratulations. DMFINO

  • Jan : Aug 1st

    Tis great to be able to set your “goals” and accomplish them. You did that! “GREAT” – I enjoyed your Trek through your postings and even found myself eagerly awaiting your next post to see how you werre progressing.


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