What led Alan Fox to the trail, to the sound of his lone footsteps in the snow on some days, to the community of hikers who went by names like Bloodhound and Cowboy on other nights, was a book.
The one about the Appalachian Trail that his mother gave to him when he was an island-bound 16-year-old growing up in Hawaii, where he would become a man enamored with the idea of walking a country road for mile after mile.
"I've always loved to walk. In Hawaii you're so limited. You can walk around the island a hundred times, I guess. Just having something like a country road that you can walk on for 25 miles or something like that, it doesn't exist really," said Fox, now 52 and living in Bellingham.
Years after receiving that book, Fox hiked the entire 2,179-mile length of the Appalachian Trail, known as the AT, from Georgia to Maine - with some days spent walking 25 miles. Never mind that, at the start, he didn't know if he could finish the trail, which touches 14 states.
"It's an exciting feeling," Fox recalled of facing the unknown.
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