Big Gulp (Chris)

Mile 2,591


(1) Where are you from?

Delta, Ohio. A small, rural village west of Toledo.

(2) What day did you start?

Started April 22nd

(3) What day did you finish?

Finished October 6th.

(4) Do you have a trail name?

Big Gulp is my trail name.

(5) If so, where did it come from?

I got it from my wife while we were hiking the AT together in 2014. We were going through a dry stretch and had to ration our water. "Allegedly" I took more than my fair share. She branded me and our friends ran with it.

(6) What did you dream of when things weren’t going well?

Standing in my kitchen, drinking coffee, and cooking breakfast. Dry and warm. My dog, Peter, peeking out from under the table, just slightly, so as to appear to not be begging.

(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?

We (my wife and I) witnessed a marmot battle. Right before Stehekin. It was really more like fuzzy, adorable, sumo wrestling. My wife took video and when we went to look at it later, there was an error and the video would not play. Some things are not meant to be recorded.

(8) Any memorable encounters with the elements, or wildlife?

Umm... had an awkward encounter involving a deer squatting and, I'm assuming, doing his business. What else would he be doing? We rounded a corner, the deer and I locked eyes, I think we both were confused and stood there expressing it. So I snapped a photo and left. I can share it if you'd like.

(9) Think back to your “pre-hike self.” Now think of yourself here at the end. Has anything changed?

I believe that people are the sum of all their experiences. I had a lot of wonderful experiences on this trail. I know they will help shape me into something better.

(10) Now that you are off the trail, what do you miss most about it?

The overwhelming friendliness of people on and around the trails. Doing these hikes, you talk to so many people and, for the most part, everyone is really friendly. But coming back to the "real world" I feel like the attitude is more guarded and people are less inclined to engage strangers in the same way.

(11) Before you started, what were you most afraid of?

Injuries in remote areas. No Spot. No health insurance. No travelers insurance. Took the chance anyway. Never looked back.

(12) Now that you are finished, what are you most afraid of?

I wouldn't say "afraid" so much as anxious. Just a general anxiety about going back to a normal routine. Going back to work.

(13) What’s the difference between life on the trail and life off the trail?

When you spend most of your time in the woods, there are certain things you can get away with that you can not in regular society. If you do it long enough, it can be hard to transition back. So I have to remember that I can not purposefully force out a fart, to make it as loud as possible, when I'm walking around a bunch of non-thru-hikers.

(14) Would you like to add anything else?

Thanks to all the people we met along the way. You are all special to me.