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Cheryl McCormick (trail name Clinker) is a BPL Wilderness Trekking School alumnus who decided at age 63 to solo-thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. She began in early April 2013 with the goal of being done by October. Her journey is one of struggle and immense victory. Her interview below does not sugarcoat the reality of the difficulty of completing the AT especially at a later age. The journey was tough but she did it because she had a jabbing desire to do hike the AT for a long long time. Her story reminds us all that it is never too late to chase after our dreams.

We all have "jabbing desires" - things that keep us up late at night - which we really should be chasing after. As Clinker shows us, we can chase after these dreams and accomplish them at any age. There is no reason to wait; we are not powerless to become what we want to be.

At the end of her journey she realized her self-confidence and self-acceptance grew extremely during her journey. There was peace in knowing that the difficulties of the hike would pass and also an understanding that she had chosen these difficulties to promote growth in her life. It was not easy but she knew she had to do it. She had stuffed the desire away for too long. Clinker wants to be an inspiration to us all and show us that we can become what we are supposed to be.

Cheryl has published her story on, and a video showing her speaking about her journey at a presentation can be viewed here. While on the trail Cheryl wrote over 70 haikus to describe and process her experience. She has chosen some that best relate to thru-hikers to be published alongside her photos from the trip.


  • Introduction
  • Interview
  • Gear List

# WORDS: 4330
# PHOTOS: 17

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