Jeff Parnakian, Happy birthday,

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to wish Jeff Parnakian a happy birthday. 

I met Jeff January 28th on his 31st birthday on the Withlacoochee Bike Trail, five and a half miles west of where the trail passes through the sweet village of Floral City, Florida.

The bike trail is also part of the Florida Trail, a 1400-mile footpath from Big Cypress National Preserve near Miami to Pensacola Beach.  After hiking the length of the Florida Trail, Jeff plans to trudge north to the 335-mile Pinhoti Trail, which runs into Alabama and eastward through Georgia. There to pick up the 2184-mle Appalachian Trail to its northern terminus at Mount Katahdin, Maine.

Jeff was working on a fishing boat in southern California when one of his mates mentioned the Pacific Crest Trail, the 2663-mile trail that runs between the borders of Canada and Mexico, atop the spine of the mountains of Washington, Oregon, and California.  Jeff did the PCT and followed up by doing the 3100-mile Continental Divide trail.

Completing these lengthy trails in a single trip is known as thru-hiking.  Completing these three trails a thru-hiker achieves the Triple Crown of Hiking.

A former Navy corpsman, Jeff is a man of his time.  He carries an iPod for his tunes and to record his thoughts, and an iPad to connect to the Internet when he can access WiFi.  I can’t help but chuckle when I repeat that sentence to myself.  What alien language that would have been on my 31st birthday.

So that’s Jeff’s story.  What are you doing on your summer vacation?

*NB.  Most lengthy trails are not continuous but consist of many disconnected trails and their spurs. Trail lengths mentioned above are from Internet research.  Rarely does a hiker do every mile of every trail.  However, hikers often walk dozens of road miles to get back onto a trail that petered out.

9 Responses to Jeff Parnakian, Happy birthday,

  1. Lyn Rockwell says:

    Dear Al, today is also my birthday (1/28/???). It is sure nice to still hear from you even though we can’t walk the census grounds anymore. I am still doing my dolls and enjoying life and receiving your emails. Lyn Rockwell

  2. karen wittgraf says:

    Happy Birthday to the hiker, Jeff. Jerry’s daughter, Laura (that you met in Yosemite) also has hike the Pacific Crest- amazing!

  3. D and A says:

    The sights he will see on this jouney of self discovery would be wonderful to read about. Could you mentor him a bit and we’d have another wonderful blogger to read. This is a wonderful look at what young people are up to. But there is another darker side. Some would rather see them all in Occupy Movements instead of where he is. We thought we were a ME generation but what this electronic world has created is the ultimate form of isolated Spirits. At once connected and disconnected while the world crumbles at their feet. I wonder as he looks at the Wilderness if its rate of decline will match what awaits him when he steps back into the real world.

  4. Debbie and Tom says:

    Great picture of a good looking “kid”. :) Thanks for taking the time to get to know Jeff a little bit and for posting his birthday greetings. We could only send an e-mail to him. He is enjoying Florida–lots more wildlife than he expected! Anyway, this post made our day!!

  5. I recommend you read Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk In The Woods, all about the joys and
    rigors of hiking the Appalachian…BB

  6. April Edsberg says:

    Best Wishes to you Jeff,

    i think I hear a book coming up the trail.
    Good!
    April Edsberg

  7. Dr. Bryson has a prescriptive remedy for whatever ails you. OR alternative medicines
    include Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, Kerouac’s On The Road,
    Homer’s Odyssey, Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley, anything by Paul Theroux, Yann Martel’s Life Of Pi, Jack London’s Call Of The Wild, Kipling’s Jungle Book, Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia, Frances Mayes’s Under The Tuscan Sun, I Dreamed Of Africa by Kuki Gallman, Chasing The Monsoon by Alexander Frater, Verne’s Around The World, Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist, James Michener’s pop novels set in far off places, Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, among numerous others. So let’s get moving, if only in our collective imaginations. ;-) BB

  8. Dave L says:

    After reading of Jeff’s hiking accomplishments, I am almost too tired to write HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEFF! They say walking is good for you, I do several blocks a day.

    Al, I suppose when you finish didling with “functionality,” you will inform us of the new path to your wisdom and humor. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a thought … or a new character met along the road. Hope all is well, that your synapses are crackling, and that you find a fresh bottle of Merlot.

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