Sulphur man finishes hiking’s Triple Crown

Hometown Hero: Michael Winkle

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A Sulphur native has completed his quest of finishing what is known as “the Triple Crown of Hiking.”

“I hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail,” said Michael Winkle, a native of Sulphur, “22 states, 7,941 miles, three countries, and three years; all on foot. You gotta carry your 'pack and walk every step or it doesn’t count.”

Michael says the hardest was the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail. He began this trail in New Mexico in March of 2018.

“It’s not populated. Montana, Wyoming, Idaho; there’s just no one there. So, in between the cities, you’re packing extra food. I found out the hardest thing of all is just being alone. Going 10 days by yourself doesn’t seem like a lot, but you’re talking to yourself, listening to music. You’re missing home.”

At one point, Winkle twisted an ankle. However, he quickly wrapped it in duct tape and proceeded to hike 200 miles.

“I got altitude sickness in the San Juans. I stayed above 12,000 feet for a week and got a respiratory infection. I got chased out of huckleberry bushes by grizzlies. They were young ones, but they were still a good size; a lot of rattlesnakes.”

Winkle ended his hike in Canada, just above Montana, in early September. His next project is to hike a live volcano, Mount St. Helens. He also wants to write a book on his adventures on all three national trails.

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