On Oct. 26, Dale Sanders did it again – he broke another world record for someone his age. At 82, he became the oldest person to through-hike the Appalachian Trail in the same year. He got a little help from some of his friends along the way, including the final mile of the world’s longest continuously marked footpaths at 2,190 miles.
“That last day was so euphoric,” Sanders said. “It was really an unbelievable day. I finished the last mile at Harpers Ferry, W. Va. About 50 people hiked that last mile with me, including several members of my family and fellow hikers.”
Sanders’ accomplishment was named the Mid-South’s No. 1 Outdoor News Story for 2017 by a panel of judges. From Jan. 1 through Oct. 21 Sanders, who lives in the Memphis suburb of Bartlett, hiked through 14 states from north Georgia to Maine. Along the way he went through three pairs of shoes, was hospitalized briefly for internal bleeding, never stayed in a hotel and lost 27 pounds.
“One person told me early on to never quit on a bad day,” Sanders said. “I had my share of bad days. It was terrible in March when I was in Georgia. Oh, man, it was bad. It was like 9 degrees. The wind was blowing 30 knots. It was terrible. I liked to not have made it. I thought I was going to die that night.”
The hardest thing about Sanders’ accomplishment wasn’t the weather.
“It was the logistics of putting everything together to stay alive,” he said. “Physically, the hardest thing was either the New Hampshire’s White Mountains or the southern mountain ranges of Maine. But the whole trail was so much more difficult than I anticipated. I am an experienced hiker and paddler, as well as a lot of other adventure sports. The AT is so rocky with so many mountains. It is rare to find a walk in the park section on The AT.”
Remember, this is the same Dale Sanders who two years ago became the oldest person to solo paddle the Mississippi River from source to sea. Now, he’s trying to figure what’s next for him in 2020.
In fact, he has taken to Facebook to ask friends to give him a suggestion.
Since his accomplishment Sanders has become a rock star in the hiking world. He got a call the other day from a friend in Montana telling him he had been featured on Russian television. A Washington D.C. newspaper had a full page story on his accomplishment. He has been featured in countless radio and TV shows and has more than 2,000 Facebook friends. Go to greybeardadventurer.com for additional information about Sanders.
Now, let’s go to 2017’s other top outdoor news stories.
2. Not once, but twice – in a row – is the way professional angler Mark Rose of West Memphis started the 2017 FLW season. First, on Feb. 5, Rose caught five bass on the final day weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces to win $125,000 at the FLW Tour at Lake Guntersville. Rose's four-day total of 20 bass weighing 79 pounds, 11 ounces gave him a 15-ounce margin of victory. If that wasn’t enough, Rose made it back-to-back FLW Tour wins when he brought in a five-bass limit of 14 pounds, 9 ounces to win two weeks later on Lake Travis near Jonestown, Texas. With his victory on Lake Travis Rose became the first angler in FLW Tour history to win back-to-back FLW Tour events, giving him more than $250,000 in FLW Tour winnings in 15 days. Rose was also a member of the USA Team in the World Championship Bass Tournament in South Africa.
3. Strike King Lure Company was acquired by Lew's Holdings Corporation. Founded in 1964, Strike King has grown into an iconic brand in the fishing industry and its product portfolio includes wire baits, hard and soft plastic lures, terminal tackle, sunglasses, and related fishing accessories. Headquartered in Collierville, Strike King has a top-end pro staff that includes Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Greg Hackney, Mark Rose and among many others.
4. Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo bested the field of 43 aspirants to claim the 2017 National Bird Dog Championship at Ames Plantation near Grand Junction, Tenn. Jo is a powerfully built muscular orange and mostly white four-year-old pointer male owned and handled by Gary Lester. During his three hour bid for the championship he ran with speed, power and purpose. His efforts were rewarded with three finds in his first hour, one find and a back of his brace mate in the second hour, and three finds in the third hour.
5. Asian carp, an invasive species that are detrimental to native species, are in the Tennessee River system. They can out-compete native species for resources and some females are capable of producing more than one million eggs annually, causing their numbers to grow at an alarming rate.
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