The AT Legend Passing on Wisdom to Young Thru-Hikers

With nine thru-hikes and nine section hikes of the Appalachian Trail under his belt, Warren Doyle, 70, is a legend in the trail community. When he set the first known speed record of 66.3 days on the AT in 1973, he did it wearing blue jeans.

The 38,000-miler has even been arrested for civil disobedience, an incident that occurred on Mount Katahdin in the late 1970s when he climbed the Maine peak to protest a rule that prohibited summitting it during rainy weather (at the time, it was the only American mountain with such a policy). He chose to spend a night in jail rather than pay a fine, but it was worth it: Baxter State Park eventually changed the rule.

However, Doyle’s accomplishments don’t end where his footsteps do. In 1983, he founded the American Long Distance Hikers Association. And in 1989, he created the Appalachian Trail Institute (ATI), which offers courses to prepare thru-hikers.

Doyle has worked tirelessly to bring others to his sanctuary, to give back to the trail by inspiring generations of thru-hikers and leading others into the mountains. And even with the thru-hiking season on hold, the trail icon’s message continues to resonate.

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