Dennis Quinn is a 24 year old graduate of Kutztown University who is preparing to hike the entire 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail as a tribute to his brother Kyle.
Dennis and Kyle Quinn are brothers who love the outdoors. They started at an early age as Indian Guides. Unfortunately, Kyle was murdered at the college they were both attending on September 2007. He was only 19.
Just four days before Kyle’s death, the brothers had trekked to a popular part of the Appalachian Trail called the Pinnacle, in Hamburg, Berks County. Dennis had been thinking about hiking the whole of the Appalachian trail for about five years now but he got more serious about it after his brother’s untimely death.
Dennis says that while he’s not a religious person, he’s a spiritual person who finds the spirit outside. I’m not sure what he means exactly but he adds that the minimalistic way of life on the trail, with nothing more the gear on your back, is kind of a romantic idea.
Dennis hopes to end his journey by September 7, the anniversary of his brother’s death. His trip is scheduled to start on March 28, from Georgia to the trail’s northern terminus on Mount Katahdin in Maine. Quinn estimates that the trip will cost $4000 and made thorough preparations to increase his chances of success.
Quinn will be traveling with longtime friend Geoff Grandfield for the first month. His Kutztown graduate friend, Brett White will join him part of the way. His family and friends will be able to see his progress with the help of a small satellite tracking device Quinn will be carrying. His goal is to hike 20 miles per day, depending on the terrain.
The series of white blazes painted on the trees that mark the way will guide Quinn through the Appalachian Trail. He also plans to use the three side shelters located at various stages in case of bad weather but he will also carry a sleeping bag to get the whole experience.
According to Quinn, it’s more about the journey than the destination. He was in the middle of helping troubled youths see the beauty of the outdoors during the trial of the murder case.
The Appalachian Trail is known to be a tough trail to hike the whole way. According to the stats, 20 percent barely make it out of Georgia, only 10 percent make it halfway and out of that, only 10 percent finish.
I hope Dennis Quinn does go through to the end. If he does, I wonder what he’ll do next.