Posted by David Wynne on Feb 19, 2019
Farmer Carol Bontekoe of Grow Benzie shared the story of her through hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine.  And what a phenomenal storyteller she is!
Carol undertook the six month 1 week long adventure to seek healing from a violent assault that cost her an eye.  "No Chill" (her Trail name) was accompanied by her dog Leo (Trail name: "Sir Barks-a-Lot") for the entire 2200 mile journey except the Great Smoky Mountains (TN) and Baxter State Park (ME) where dogs are prohibited.  She shared several stories of other hikers who found what they were looking for on the Trail including a Vietnam vet with whom she hiked (he a gun-shooting conservative and she a liberal organic farmer) who finally found peace on the Trail and buried his Vietnam Vet hat in the mountains. 
Touching, too, was the story of the Australian hiker who trained for the AT but died before he could make the trip.  His wife sent his boots to the starting point in Georgia and hikers took turns carrying them north to Maine.
And the image of her picking up her dog by the handle on his backpack and running from the wild ponies encountered on the Trail is one we won't soon forget.
Altitudes as high as 6900 feet and temperatures from the 20's and snow to 100+ made the journey even more interesting.  Anyone who has the opportunity to listen to Farmer Carol share her AT story should definitely take the opportunity.