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Mason couple returns from 142-day hike on Appalachian Trail

The Pulver's
Posted at 9:30 AM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 09:54:23-04

MASON, Mich. — Linda and Joe Pulver have climbed many mountains together.

“We've been married almost 42 years, we'll be married 42 years on the 23rd,” Joe said.

Literally, climbed mountains.

“We're fortunate that we both like to do the same things,” Joe said.

They're been hiking together since they met.

“We had been registered to do the Pacific Crest Trail in 2020, and then 2020 happened," Linda said. "So that's what we had been planning for all along, and then then the trail started on fire, and we just kind of gave up on the hope of it.”

They postponed their 2020 trip to 2022 and just completed their longest hike across 14 states.

“We started at Springer Mountain in Georgia, and that's the beginning of the Appalachian Trail," Linda said. "2,194.2 miles later, we finished at Mountain Katahdin in Maine, and that's the end of the trail.”

They started their journey on March 14.

“We started out kind of slow," Joe said. "They tell everybody to kind of, you know, don't take right off and think things are gonna be great. So we took a couple of weeks of just trying to get adjusted to the trail and the trail, unbeknownst to us, was fairly smooth at that time.”

“We thought it was difficult at the time, until we found out what difficult was,” Linda said.

The difficulty increased each day.

“We were like in a Super Mario game," Joe said. "We would get to a level, you master that and then they take it to another level and then they'd say, 'Oh, you're still here.'”

“We kept leveling up and seeing what other challenges they are going to give to us,” Linda said.

From the terrain to the weather that turned out to be not so bad.

"We got into northern or northern New Hampshire and southern Maine. And that was probably the toughest part of the whole trip. It was a lot of rock scrambling with a full pack on you," Joe said. "Fortunately for us, it didn't rain a lot during the day. It was usually at night, and temperatures were always fairly mild and we had some cold nights at the beginning but not too bad.”

While the roads got rough, their "tramily" grew.

“We saw people from Germany and Switzerland and the UK and a lot of people from United States, but just everybody were very good people," Joe said "We've met some people that, you know, it was very fun to be around.”

And the scenery was priceless.

“Every now and then you'd pop out and you'd get these epic views, but a lot of times you're just hiking in the woods," Linda said. "In Maine and New Hampshire, we got to see a lot more outside of our green tunnel.”

On Aug. 3, 142 days after they started, they reached the end of the trail.

Linda said she came home appreciating the little things more.

“All of those little things like that just sleeping on a bed and things that you take for granted, all of a sudden, it just meant a lot more to us that you know the simple things in life," Linda said.

When they were asked if they would do it again, they said it's too soon for that.

“That long of a hike. You're asking us a little too early, because I'm gonna say no," Linda said. "We've talked about doing some shorter, you know, like the Colorado trail is 500 miles and that would be a nice trip, maybe some shorter backpacking trips. And then give us some time and we might say yes.”

While spending 24 hours for 142 days with the same person seems like a lot.

"We would not have started this trip together had we not known that we're very compatible,” Linda said.

For the Pulvers, it was just another mountain to climb in their relationship.

“I'm pushing the limits and she's pushing the limits," Joe said. "You know, that was very tough at times.”

The Pulvers said this trip wouldn't have been possible without all their friends and family at home who sent dehydrated food supplies to the cities they stopped in.

They also said New York was one of their favorite states because there were hot dog stands every where.

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Hannah McIlree

5:13 PM, Nov 14, 2022

Mason, Leslie

Neighborhood Reporter

Hannah McIlree