Lake Charles native hikes the entire Appalachian Trail - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles native hikes the entire Appalachian Trail

Source: Michael Winkle Source: Michael Winkle
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

52 year old Michael Winkle is just back from a busy spring and summer in the northeastern U.S. His girlfriend died last year and he decided to honor her by hiking the Appalachian Trail.

"Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I grabbed all my stuff and I started out March 23.  Crossed 14 states, 2189 miles, and finished it September 28. It took me 189 days."

Winkle was supported along the way by family and friends who mailed him food at different towns along the way.

"There's not a lot of stores along the Appalachian Trail, they're hard to find. You only carry six to eight days of food on  you. You slip into town and they would send me boxes of freeze dried food and all kinds of good stuff. It was wonderful, I would go to the post office and I'd have food. I'd pack everything up and get right back on the trail." 

He averaged hiking about 22 miles in a day.

"The most beautiful thing I saw was besides coming back home and seeing I-10... was the Lake of the Clouds in New Hampshire. It's a glacier lake on top of a mountain. As you're sitting there, the clouds roll over you as you eat." 

At the end of September, Michael finally reached the finish line over 2100 miles later.

"I broke. Teared up. I held onto the sign like it was a girl I was chasing for six months. Just held her close. It was amazing. It was like getting everything you ever wanted for Christmas exactly at that moment."

Winkle said he completed the trek to teach his children to never give up.

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