WESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – 2,193 miles, 14 states, nine months, and two people who set out to achieve something that many don’t achieve—hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail.
That’s the reality for Ken and Allie Dravis, who recently moved to Weston.
The idea started five months after a vacation to Maryland took them to a piece of the trail.
“I was just kind of on a soapbox about ‘I think if people walked and spent time outside for an extended period of time, that we’d all learn how to communicate better with each other’ and long story short, I just thought I should put my money where my mouth is,” said Ken.
On March 11, 2021, the couple started out in the middle of the trail in Roanoke, Va. and started their journey north to Maine, where one of the trailheads is located.
The couple celebrated milestones during their time on the trail.
“We celebrated our first wedding anniversary on the trail,” said Allie.
Ken pointed out that they celebrated many different things during their hike.
“For nine months, we celebrated a lot of things on the trail. Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Allie’s birthday. We celebrated a Thanksgiving on the trail,” said Ken.
The couple made several friends with people and wildlife alike during their hike.
“What I think impacted us the most were the people. We saw and met a whole new wavelength of friends and really cherish those new friendships. It’s a different breed of folk that set out to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail,” said Allie.
The couple made it to Maine on Sept. 10 after hiking 1,482.6 miles. But, they weren’t done there.
They made their way back to Roanoke, where they hiked the other 700 or so miles south to the other trailhead.
On Dec. 7, Ken and Allie made it to Georgia—completing their “flip-flop” hike.
“Physically, of course, it’s very demanding. But, there’s a mental aspect to it as well. Some people, that really affects more than others. We really took our time so we didn’t feel so pressured that way. I think we didn’t have as many mental battles,” said Allie.
Oh, and you may be wondering just how young Ken and Allie are; Ken just turned 64 years old, while Allie is 47. The couple knows it’s rare for people their age to finish the trail.
“It’s a lot of the kids, 18 to 25. So, there’s 40 and over, the numbers go way down that actually complete it every year. I think we’re pretty pleased about that,” said Ken.
The couple has some insight to share about how to get through the hike or anything in life that can be challenging.
“When you think about walking, 5 million steps, 2,193 miles, it’s all done one step at a time. So, regardless of what your goal is or maybe how insurmountable something may seem, if you just take one step at a time and be persistent, you’ll get there,” said Ken.
The couple, who returned home just a few weeks ago, plans to continue hiking in the north central West Virginia area.