For Leo Moloughney, last night’s hot shower and soft, warm hotel room bed in Franklin, N.C., were probably among life’s most welcome indulgences.
Moloughney is a 71-year-old Dundas resident who began a quest March 3 to hike the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail. If he completes the journey later this spring, Moloughney will make history as one of the oldest people in the world to successfully hike the entire trail.
But so far, the weather has not co-operated, with mud and cold slowing Moloughney’s progress to about 15 miles a day. Some mornings, after a night camping on the trail, Moloughney has woken to find his water canister frozen, leaving him without water for much of the morning or until he discovers a water source.
However, the fit and energetic septuagenarian has been buoyed by the attention his hike is gathering. Some $550 has been donated to the Alzheimer Society of Hamilton/Halton in Moloughney’s name as a show of support. His Facebook page is also sitting at 165 “likes” and gaining followers daily.
Moloughney has travelled various portions of the Appalachian Trail for the past 14 years, but decided to tackle the entire route this spring to raise money for the Alzheimer society.
“I was thinking of doing half the trail, but then I got this idea,”
Moloughney told Hamilton Community News before settting out on his journey. “Both my father and my father’s brother died of Alzheimer’s, and I’m going to be 72 in August, so I thought I’d better go do something like this now, because it is only going to get harder.”
As of March 15, Moloughney had 109.8 miles behind him and 2,076 miles to go.
The Appalachian Trail passes through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Next up for Moloughney is the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee. The area saw two feet of snow last week, so Moloughney has his fingers crossed for warmer weather.
You can follow Moloughney’s progress on Facebook. Search Leo’s AT Hike.