Frank Scaffido Completes 2,160-Mile Appalachian Trail Hike!
Special to the Gazette
Frank "SUBMANk" Scaffido completed his marathon Appalachian Trail journey on April 19th at Springer Mountain, Georgia. He then made it down to the Amicalola Falls State Park Ranger Station and signed the register as a successful "thruhiker" of the 2,160-mile Trail.
As a "southbounder", Scaffido chose to start from Maine in the fall and hike south through the winter. Most A.T thruhikers leave from Georgia in the spring and make Maine before the frigid weather hits in the upper northeast. Frank was fortunate to have chosen an unusually mild winter, which generally worked to his advantage. In the final weeks of his hiking odyssey, he encountered some snow and ice as well as a two- week stretch of heavy rain.
Soaked to the bone on several occasions, his spirits were not dampened as he closed in on the southern terminus of the trail. He met plenty of envious (and curious) northbounders as he approached the southern entrance of the A.T. On his final night on the Trail, Frank stayed just a few miles north of Springer at Stover Creek Shelter. A group just beginning the trip north joined him there for the night. To avoid attracting bears, A.T. hikers usually sling their food high in a tree before retiring for the night. As the northbound group was doing this, they asked Scaffido if he had any food to put up in the sling. "Thanks, but the only food I have is a Snickers Bar" Frank said, "and I am going to eat that before I go to sleep. I'm not even making breakfast tomorrow".
Scaffido signed the register at the Ranger Station the next morning, then took a bus to Gainesville, Georgia where he had reserved a luxury suite at an Inn. After going through the breakfast buffet 3 times, he was joined by his wife Kim who drove up from Orlando, Florida to celebrate with him. Frank's first comment when he phoned in was "It is going to be a long time, if ever, before I sleep on the ground again".
Super job, SUBMANk. Congratulations!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final installment of Frank Scaffido's experience hiking the Appalachian Trail. Frank and Mike Faber were classmates at George Washington High School in Alexandria and have stayed in close touch over the years. Mike and his wife Sharon, live in Vienna, Virginia. Mike's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org).