A midwestern friend sent me an extensive article concerning the Scott Jurek fiasco and the future of the Appalachian Trail terminus remaining on Katahdin, the mountain sacred to the Wabenaki.

In the article, one person observed that “doing this in 46 days is like going through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in one minute and seventeen seconds.” I agree. And to call Jurek a “hiker” is a misnomer. His accomplishment is more closely related to winning a hot dog eating contest.

And in an article in the Sept. 10 newspaper, “AT record setter pays $500 fine,” Jurek reveals his ignorance by stating that Baxter State Park Director Jensen Bissell “used me to benefit himself and benefit the park.”

What possible “benefit” for Bissell? Preposterous. And as to benefiting the park by keeping commercially backed, self-serving glory hounds under control, well, that’s his job. Making an example of Jurek to benefit the park was clearly the whole point.

I suggest that Jurek go set a speed record for running up and down the stairs of the Empire State building and stay out of places like Baxter Park.

I have summited Katahdin more than a dozen times, and my wife and I have done volunteer work there over several decades. In 1998, I shot the footage of Earl Shaffer summiting Katahdin at the age of 79, as seen in the film “Wilderness And Spirit, A Mountain Called Katahdin” by Huey.

Earl was a World War II veteran and, in 1948, the first documented AT thru-hiker. It was Earl who first had the idea of starting in Georgia, as reflected in his book, “Walking With Spring.” Earl was a true hiker who leaves Jurek in his dust.

Abbott Meader


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