Man Hikes Entire Appalachian Trail To Honor Late Wife of 57 Years

by Megan Molseed

Some people choose to head out into nature, taking hikes or simply taking strolls to clear their minds. However, for one man, Egon Overgaard, his stroll into nature has taken him up the eastern part of the country, hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.

Through immense heat, frigid cold, snow, rain, sleet, and the inescapable rays of the sun, Overgaard has almost completed his journey along the Appalachian Trail. In the months he has spent traveling the trail from the southern tip to the northern end, Egon Overgaard has spent countless nights camping in tents. Some days saw him scaling boulders, others saw the hiker navigating loose rocks as he forged over the hills. In total, Overgaard will have walked a distance that is equal to climbing Mount Everest 15 times once he finishes his trip.

What, exactly, inspired the 78-year-old hiker to start this impressive journey last spring? Egon Overgaard was drawn to the historic trails as he was grieving the loss of his beloved wife, of 57 years, Carol.

One Man’s Grief Takes Him On An Unforgettable Journey In Honor Of His Late Wife

Egon Overgaard started his journey along the entire Appalachian Trail in March stepping forward onto his journey up the eastern area of the United States in Georgia. While Overgaard is stepping forward, completing a hike of thousands of miles, his goal is to leave something behind. The sense of loss he feels since losing his wife, Carol, to a terminal illness last winter.

“In my mind, she was as close to a perfect person as I knew,” Egon Overgaard says of his late wife.

Overgaard was the caretaker for his beloved wife for many years. And, when Carol passed, he felt he had to find a new purpose. And, while he’s not sure what made him remember the hikes, Overgaard’s mind took him back to his Navy days when he first found the renowned trail.

“I don’t know why it came to me but it did,” Overgaard says.

Overgaard Finds Closure Hiking The Appalachian Trail

Overgaard says his favorite states so far have been Virginia and New Jersey. The hiker is averaging around 17 miles per day. Of course, he and his fellow hikers are ravenous by the end of the day. By the end of the journey, they hiked through a total of 14 states.

“It’s a change in my life,” Overgaard says. “I guess I’m ready to embrace that.”

While finding closure as he struggles past the grief of losing his wife is key to the journey, there’s another reason driving Overgaard on the trails. He is hiking to help raise money to fund a solar project at his Lutheran church back home.

“I think solar power is a part of that future,” he relates. “So if I can do something to help that I’m more than willing to.”