June 14, 2017
What I do: Gun Shop manager.
At Bill Jackson’s: Nearly 17 years over several stints, beginning in 2000.
Personal: 61 years old.
Claim to fame: The shop’s Triple Crown hiker. Completed thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail (1999), Pacific Crest Trail (2002) and the Continental Divide (2012), totaling roughly 7,900 miles.
Before Bill Jackson’s: Served in U.S. Army a total of 11 years. Attended Explosives Ordnance Disposal school. Received business marketing degree at Florida Southern.
The first thru-hike: “I read about it (Appalachian Trail), and my dad and his brother talked about it. And at first it seemed so Herculean. Wow, it’s so far. Then I got excited. Can I do this?”
Best outdoors moment: During PCT hike, went to Mount Whitney (elevation, 14,505 feet). “I stood on the top, and at that moment, I was higher than anyone else in the Lower 48 states.”
Worst hiking moment: During CDT hike, new pair of boots caused bubble blisters on both feet. He cut out the little toe areas of both boots until he could get another pair.
Thru-hike advice: “Leave your emotional baggage at home. If you have people to take care of your bills and personal stuff at home you can focus on the trail. Don’t look at Katahdin (northern terminus of the AT). Just look town-to-town. You’ll get there. … And plan for the worst. You can’t allow your body to get too cold or too hot. Always think safety first.”
Next adventure: “I’d like to pick 10 national parks and visit each one for a whole week to explore it. Kind of park hop from one to another.”
Five favorite pieces of gear: Osprey day pack; Benchmade knife; Leki trekking poles; single-wall backpacking tent; Marmot lightweight rain shell.