By Stephen D. Bowling
What a difference 12 hikes can make. January 2022 was a tough hiking month for many participants in the Sheltowee Trace Challenge. It was cold and snowy and the first real backpacking trip that most Challengers had attempted. Lots of hikers struggled through that first day on the way to Dry Fork or onto Holly Creek. Most slept very well that night.
Over the next ten months, each hiker refined what they brought and how they approached the trail- physically and mentally. In the course of this short time, you became hikers. Sadly, the 2022 Challenge has ended and about 80 people have been added to the proud list of “End To Enders.” Be proud of what you have accomplished.
Here are a few images from Team Boone’s hike from Bandy Creek Campground to Burnt Mill Bridge to complete the 2023 Sheltowee Trace Challenge.
Hiking the Sheltowee Trace Challenge in 2022 was certainly a great experience. I want to thank each and every Challenger that walked with me or allowed me to hike with them along this journey. 2022 was a very difficult year for me, my family, and our community. Record-breaking flooding that devastated my county and the painful loss of my son made every day hard to face for much of the year.
My time in the woods with each of you helped make my year more bearable. I thank you. It has not been easy, but life is not easy, but neither is the Sheltowee Trace. There are ups and down, but every day we get up and keep walking, whether real or “Steve Miles.” I can assure you that the Sheltowee Trace Challenge will be hot, cold, sunny, snowy, wet, miserable, and great… just like life. We must rise to meet every “bunny hop” that the trail and life present us. What in life can hold you back now- after all you are an End To Ender? Nothing can stand in your way.
Thanks to each of you for your kind words and caring hearts. I hope to see you at the gathering in December and somewhere on the trail in 2023 as I go for #7.
© 2022 Stephen D. Bowling