Presenter Name: Roger Fender
Presentation Title: 900 Miles of Resilience, Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Presentation Description: The Smoky Mountains offer over 800 miles of trails for the hiking enthusiast to enjoy. These trails take you to beautiful vistas, roaring waterfalls, old homesteads and communities, and to old growth forests of towering trees. This program will review what it takes to hike one trail, or all of the trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you decide to hike all the trails, you will need a well thought out plan. The average hiker needs to hike over 1200 miles to complete the 800+ miles! This program will look at the strategies involved to accomplish hiking all of the trails given the multiple factors involved. The presenter’s personal experience and strategies, as well as available resources for hiking and backpacking in the Smokies will be covered. Safety considerations for hiking in the Smokies will also be reviewed in light of the presenters hiking accident on the Ramsey Cascade trail which nearly took his life.
Presenter Biography: Roger is an avid hiker / backpacker who has hiked in Tibet, New Zealand, Borneo, Kauai, the American West, and the Canadian Rockies. Roger has a deep love for the uniqueness of the Great Smoky Mountains which has driven his desire to hike all of the trails.Roger is currently 60% complete (as of 10/1/15) with hiking all of the trails within the park. This is an amazing completion rate for Roger. On November 1st, 2014, Roger had completed 398 miles of the trails when he was hiking on the Ramsey Cascade trail and a 13 inch 1200lb tree branch fell 70 feet and crushed his body. His rescue and subsequent recovery is an amazingstory in itself. Roger did not let the news from his doctor that he may never walk again deter him from his goal of hiking all the trails in the Smokies. A short 5 months after the accident, Roger took his first step on a trail in the Smokies. In six months he has added another 69 miles to his hiking log!