On November 21, 1990 Bill Irwin, 50 arrived at the base of Mount Katahdin in Main’s Baxter State Park, thus completing a walk of the footpath known as the Appalachian Trail. Irwin’s goal of hiking the entire Trail began on March 8, 1990. His excursion through extensive wilderness in 14 states include 8 national forests and about 0 state parks and game lands.

Unlike most through-hikers – those attempting to walk the entire 2,144 miles of the trail starting from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to Mount Katahdin in one hiking season – Irwin’s accomplishment attracted a great deal of national attention because of his disability. Irwin, a chemist turned Christian counselor from Burlington, North Carolina, is the first blind person (light perception but lacks visual acuity) to ever complete the walking Trail.

Note on the Author

Joseph Huber is currently professor of adapted physical education and motor learning at Bridgewater State College, where he is also Director of the College’s Children’s Physical Developmental Clinic.