Posted by David Martin on Mar 10, 2019
Clint Morse introduced our program with a flashback to past, introducing three guests in the fashion of the game show "To Tell the Truth". The three "contestants" all claimed to be Lorie Hess, who recently hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.  After some questions from the Rotary audience to determine who was the real Lorie Hess, the truth became known.
The real Lori Hess did indeed hike the trail, and she provided insight and inspiration for anyone with their own mountain to climb.
Lorie is actually a Rotarian from Fredericksburg, and started the hike last year on March 21st. She experienced her last freezing night about a month later, and spent about six months hiking the trail. Friends, family and Rotarians sent packages of food, letters, and encouragement throughout the trip, and when she received them, it made a big impact on her ability to keep hiking. Lorie tent camped much of the way, although shelters were available occasionally and were a welcome respite from the rain storms that often came.
Although she did hike alone for part of the trip, she did find some hiking partners whose comradery lifted her spirits and kept her putting one foot in front of the other. Although the physical aspect of hiking an average of twelve miles a day with a fully loaded pack took its toll, the mental fortitude was the bigger challenge. She credits the "Tramilies" (trail families) and trail angels, who were strangers that opened up their houses to put her up for a night, with helping her succeed.
Lorie continues to give lectures and motivational speeches about her Appalachian Trail experience, and hopes to provide inspiration to others facing their own life challenges.