“I love setting a challenging goal then going about achieving it, especially in cooperation with others,” says Bruce Munshower, who moved to Garden Spot Village in May 2019 with his wife, SaraJane. Bruce has been hiking his way through the Appalachian Trail eight to nine miles at a time. The well-known Appalachian Trail is over 2,000 miles long, reaching from Maine all the way to Georgia.
Before moving to Garden Spot, Bruce and SaraJane lived in Connecticut where their son, Alan, lived and worked at a summer camp close to the Appalachian Trail. Alan suggested that he and Bruce hike a section of the trail close to the camp, and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. That first hike quickly turned into a goal of walking all 51 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut. Bruce remembers meeting his son on his son’s days off to go and hike more and more of the trail.
“We had a whole system. We would meet at the parking lot where we planned on ending for the day, then we would drive together to our starting point,” Bruce explains. By the end of that summer, Bruce and his son had hiked all 51 miles. Bruce’s daughter, Lesley, joined them for the last section.
Then, because their guidebooks and maps included the Massachusetts trails, they decided to tackle Massachusetts next. Just before completing the Massachusetts section of the trail, Bruce, Alan and Lesley rented a house in Frederick for a week and walked Maryland’s 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
Once he began hiking regularly, Bruce was hooked. When he and SaraJane moved to Garden Spot Village, he thought, “Oh boy! Now I’ve got to hike Pennsylvania!”
The Appalachian Trail ventures through 232 miles of Pennsylvania, which Bruce quickly completed with the help of a new friend he met soon after moving to New Holland. The men followed the same process Bruce and his son had used in Connecticut for day trips, with the addition of a few two-day backpacking hikes for the longer stretches.
“The special thing about hiking the Appalachian Trail is the kinship with other hikers,” Bruce says. “You meet people and exchange stories. Some people you never see again, and others you may meet later on other parts of the trail.”
Over the years he has hiked about a third of the Appalachian Trail. His current goals are to complete the 109 miles of trail that travel through Shenandoah National Park and to get the 14 State Challenge recognition from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
This recognition honors hikers who have hiked a part of the trail in each of the 14 states through which the trail runs. To achieve this, Bruce has to hike in just three more states: Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Moving to Garden Spot Village has enabled Bruce to spend more time working toward his hiking goals as well as participating in clubs like the Wood Shop and Village Voices. “I didn’t hike nearly as often before retirement. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I hiked parts of the Horse-Shoe Trail and have now found my way back to that. Now that there are many great hiking opportunities locally, and with the freedom of lifestyle offered by Garden Spot, a day or two on the trail per week is a breeze.”
To watch Bruce Munshower share his passion for hiking, click here.