This guest post is from my friend Peggy Grantham, a long-time Florida Trail Association member and founder of the Panhandle Trace Hike. This is Peggy’s last season running the 9-day hike, as she’s launching a business supporting hikers not just on the Florida Trail but on the Appalachian Trail as well. Here’s her story:
I have been hiking and planning trips for my own enjoyment for over 20 years and the last two summers I invited friends along to share the fun and the expenses. Everyone had such a great time that I decided to start a travel/hiking service, especially after hearing a friend of mine comment on how much she would enjoy hiking the AT if she could do it one day at a time, spending nights in comfort instead of in a sleeping bag!
Now that I can NOT hike like I used to I am enjoying very much being a “Trail Angel”, helping others to get on and off the trails. I don’t have any money but I feel I do have the expertise in planning a fun, exciting hiking and exploring trip for others to enjoy without all the fuss of planning and reserving and logistics. This is a “not for profit” business, I just ask for enough to pay the transportation costs and lodging costs for my hikers and me. For both of my pre-planned summer trips I am asking 1,000.00 dollars with a 200 dollar nonrefundable deposit due at least 3 months before the trip starts and the balance 2 weeks before we leave. I am looking for 3 or 4 hikers to join me on each of these two trips, all I can fit in my mini van.
Trip #1 leaves June 2 and returns June 22, 3 weeks long. We leave from Pace, my house, and drive, making two interesting stops, to Harper’s Ferry, WV. We will spend three nights there doing at least two hikes on the AT, one north into MD and one South. I will drop them off at the trail head and pick them up after the hike and take them back to a comfy hotel. We will continue following the AT into VA and TN and NC and GA stopping for a night or three along the way and hiking the AT, the easy way one day at a time.
Trip #2 leaves July 16 and returns Aug 2, 2 1/2 weeks. This is a New England trip and will have at least 5 hikes on the AT in five different states. We will also spend a week in my beautiful native Vermont and several days in Maine with my brother, visiting Acadia National Park. We will fly into Boston and bus to Portland where my brother lives, Rent a car and head for CT, MA, NH and Vermont hiking along the way! I am a native so know my way around New England very well.
If my business thrives as I hope I will offer more trips of shorter length throughout the year as well as offering shuttle service to trails in my tri-county area of Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. I am well acquainted on how to get to the FL/AL line on the Florida Trail and have put hikers on there before so for a fee of 50.00 I will pick up a hiker or hikers anywhere in the tri-county area and take them to our terminus at the AL line. I offer a 20.00 discount for FTA members.