It is getting to be that time of year again. It’s the season where we all shut ourselves away indoors and wait until spring to go back out. There are the few hardy ones who brave the elements with the help of the right gear, but most only go out on the best of days, if at all. Thankfully, there are those few hardy ones! One of them is Thomas Gathman.
Besides his given name, Thomas is also know by his trail name, Jabba. But most people know of him not by his trail name, but by another moniker: The Real Hiking Viking. He solidified his love for long distance hiking when he thru hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2013 with other veterans as part of the Warrior Hike Program. Jabba has put down a lot more trail miles since then. In 2014 he thru hiking the Continental Divide Trail and earlier this year, he hiked the Florida Trail, the Arizona Trail and nearly completed the Pacific Crest Trail until fire closures along the trail shut him out.
Its obvious that The Real Hiking Viking is the sort that likes to be out in nature a lot, but thankfully for us, he is also slightly insane and has signed himself up for a trip that will keep our adventurous mountaintop seeking selves satisfied from the warmth of our own homes. All we need to do is tune into The Real Hiking Viking’s Facebook or Instagram.
Starting December 1st, yes, that was yesterday, Jabba will be thru hiking the Appalachian Trail south bound through the winter! It is a trek that is reminiscent of Trauma and Pepper’s Winter Southbound PCT Thru Hike. The elements may not be quite as extreme and with a history as varied as that of the AT, he is surely not the first to take on such a hike, but he is bucking against tradition and traveling by foot over rugged terrain that is inhospitable at best in the winter. Join in with us in following along with his progress, which is sure to be full of gorgeous winter time photographs and fun stories.