Sunday, October 5, 2008

Conquering the Appalachian Trail

Conquering the Appalachian Trail

The Journal Pioneer

Jim Brown/Journal Pioneer
Jim Brown/Journal Pioneer

Linus Gillis, 60, (above), said it was one of the greatest experiences of his life conquering the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail, winding through 14 American states. Gillis arrived home after six months to a birthday party and celebration bash organized by his wife, Faye Gillis, and many friends. The party was held Saturday night at the Summerside fire hall, drawing as many as 100 wellwishers. Gillis said he was happy to return home and join his friends and family and had no immediate plans to tackle any long-distance walking challenges.
Danger on Appalachian Trial nothing to do with wildlife: hiker
The Journal Pioneer

MISCOUCHE – In a 2,175-mile hike through 14 American States, sometimes the most lethal threat isn’t wildlife, or the weather, or rock-strewn trails.
A man who had just returned to Miscouche from his six-month adventure on the Appalachian Trail, said he encountered several hikers who were afraid for their lives.
“In Virginia, there was a person who had murdered two hikers in 1981 and he had done his time and they let him out of prison. He came back on the trail and shot two more... and some of the people I hiked with had a run-in with this particular person,” said Linus Gillis.
“They avoided trouble with him, but along the way he had shot these people.”
A massive manhunt was mounted in Virginia to catch the deranged man before he could target any more hikers.
“I happened to be in the area at that time,” said Gillis.
As a precaution police arranged busing for hikers walking in the danger zone, to get them to safer ground.
The assailant was arrested by police shortly after Gillis arrived.
“He died in jail the day after they arrested him.”
On Saturday Gillis, who turned 60 last month, was given a belated birthday party he will never forget.
Approximately 175 people attended a bash at the Summerside fire hall Saturday to celebrate his accomplishment. The event was organized by his wife, Faye Gillis, as well as friends and family.
“I’m not down to earth yet,” laughed Gillis.
Will he do it again, anytime soon?
“There will be no more six-month hikes for awhile, that’s for sure,” he said.
He fell several times and as a result, “I ended up walking for a couple of weeks with a very sore hip.”
One of his legs also became infected on the trip.
“That was probably my low point because I didn’t know whether I would be able to continue my hike or not. After a few days with heavy doses of antibiotics, the doctor gave me a free bill of health to get back on the trail.”
Gillis travelled from Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine, arriving on Sept. 30. At approximately 6,000 feet, climbing Mount Katahdin at the end was the longest single climb on the trail, said Gillis.
“Needless to say, I’m happy to be home,” he said.

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