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Ken and Marcia Powers Complete First Continuous Backpack
of the American Discovery Trail

Powers reach the Pacific

Photo credit: Gary Sears

On October 15, 2005, Ken and Marcia Powers became the first hikers to complete a continuous backpack of the country's first Atlantic-to-Pacific trail. Others have made this 4,900-mile trek, but this husband-and-wife team are the first to follow the actual American Discovery Trail route continuously and finish in the same year.

They set a blistering pace, averaging more than 20 miles per day, including some 30-mile days. Ken and Marcia started their journey from the Atlantic coast in Delaware's Cape Henlopen State Park on February 27, and took only four rest days on the entire 231-day trek.

Because the Powers had previously completed hiking the "triple crown" (three of the country's 2,000-mile-plus trails: the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest), some are calling their latest accomplishment a "grand slam." The ADT is their longest and most impressive accomplishment yet.

These amazing retirees, both in their 50s, saw the wonders of our nation on foot, not in an RV. And as they followed the American Discovery Trail through 13 states, they experienced the best scenery the country has to offer and inspiring acts of generosity from their fellow citizens in this adventure of a lifetime.

"We feel we are privileged to see something special," says Marcia.

The American Discovery Trail is the nation's only coast-to-coast, non-motorized trail. Stretching in two strands across 6,800 miles and 15 states, it links some of the country's most spectacular natural areas-mountains and prairies, deserts and canyons-with historic forts, small towns, and city greenways, and allows people to hike, bike, or ride horses for an afternoon, a weekend, a month-long vacation across a state, or a coast-to-coast adventure

It joins hiking trails, rail-trails, canal towpaths, country roads, small town Main Streets, and city greenways, forming a continuous route for the non-motorized traveler. The ADT connects five national scenic trails, 10 national historic trails, 23 national recreation trails, and many local and regional trails, and passes some 10,000 points of historic, scenic, cultural or natural significance.

The American Discovery Trail was named one of 16 Millennium Trails by the U.S. Department of Transportation and recommended by the National Park Service as the first of a new category of National Discovery Trails. Legislation is pending in Congress to include the American Discovery Trail in the National Trails System.

Ken and Marcia maintained a blog of their adventures, where they sign their entries with their trail name, "Gottawalk." Click here to visit their website.