Hike 1000 By Ed Wright

1000 06/21/97

I had not intended to hike today in preparation of my 1,000th hike with sons, Bill and Bob. As I was having my morning coffee and reading the newspaper, I saw where the family and friends of Richard Haiman were having a memorial hike to LeConte today on the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. After much agonizing about making my 1,000th hike today instead of tomorrow, I decided to do the hike today and dedicate it to Richard Haiman. I changed into hiking clothing but neglected to change my keys so I immediately locked myself out of the house. I had a safety net for that so that hurdle was quickly overcome.

I ate breakfast at Quincy’s and arrived at the Alum Cave Bluff trailhead by 9:30. The folks had already gone so I started alone. About a half mile up the trail, I met Ron Valentine on his way down. I asked him to check my car to make sure that it was locked. When I met him the following day, he reported it was locked. While Ron and I were talking, John Parker from Canton, NC came up so I hiked with him for about a mile. He continued as I stopped to talk with Jean Lambert, Nancy and Daisy, VIP’s from the Bull Head Trail. As I continued to hike, I met Tom Morgan and he reported that he had met the Happy Hiker Group about a half hour ago. I then began meeting the overnight guests from the lodge that I had met on their way up to the lodge yesterday. There was the Lucas family from Columbus and a couple from Bowling Green, KY. At the three-mile location, I was overtaken by two boys from New Bern, NC, on their high school cross-country track team. They were jogging and had left the trailhead an hour after I had. I later met them at the lodge. I met Nathan Line hiking down to meet a friend that was hiking up to spend the weekend with him. Near the lodge, I met two men from the Happy Hiker returning. They had escorted the Haiman party to the lodge and left them in the care of Lee Lewis and Dr. Charles Maynard. I had arrived only about five minutes behind them but they were not at the lodge when I arrived. I ate my lunch on the porch in the bright sunshine visiting with guests and day hikers. John Parker, the two runners from New Bern, NC, and 22 young folks from the Hardin Baptist Church High School class of Hardin, KY were there.
When I had finished my lunch, I took the Knoxville News-Sentinel to the kitchen and gave it to Lisa. The crew and other friends were eating their lunch. Wayne Jones, Al Bedinger, Grace, Carrie, Mike, Jason and others were there. Wayne wanted to take my picture to commemorate my 1,000th hike. As we left the dining room, the Haiman party arrived. I took my pack off to get a piece of paper to record the names of the Haiman family and friends. Their names included: Dr. Charles Maynard, Director, Friends of the Smoky Mountains, Lyzette SanGermain (Richard’s long time companion), Laura and Steve Ruttledge, Linda Marsteller, Bill Haggerty, Ken Murray, Darren Haiman (Richard’s son), Bill Pettyjohn, Jim Lawless and Lee Lewis. I dedicated my 1,000th hike to Richard Haiman’s memory. Lots of pictures were taken before we hiked down as a group.

I made no effort to chat with folks that we met or to maintain an accurate count of hikers because of the occasion and in Richard’s honor. At Arch Rock, Bill Pettyjohn made some remark about my hiking without a pack. While getting the names, I had left my pack but Charles Maynard saw my error and gave the pack to Bill. I was most grateful and even carried it to the trailhead. I estimated that we had met 350 hikers and backpackers today. 5:50. I ran into a really severe thunderstorm with high winds and hail as I left the parking lot.