Take a hike: UI grads to spend six months documenting the Appalachian Trail

Iowans to hike the Appalachian Trail
A view of Lehigh Valley, as seen from the Appalachian Trail. — photo by Nicholas Tonelli

Recent University of Iowa grads Elizabeth Furmanski and Collin Blunk are The Wild Outsiders, and they want you to come along, virtually at least, as they attempt to trek the entire 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail.

“In the spring of 2012, a family trip to Tennessee led us to the Smoky Mountains National Park,” Blunk said. “Without much knowledge of the Appalachian Trail, we stumbled upon it and hiked a few hundred yards. That was all it took, the idea of spending six months in the Appalachian wilderness was too good to pass up.”

The Appalachian Trail, often called “America’s Trail,” is one of the most popular hiking spots in the U.S. According to the Wild Outsiders, two to three million hikers visit the trail every year, but only around 2,000 attempt a full “thru-hike.” About 25 percent of those that attempt it succeed.

To make sure they will have the best chance at success, the pair is gearing up (literally) for the five-to-seven-month journey, which will take them from from Georgia’s Springer Mountain to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. The couple leave in about 18 days, and as you might imagine, the terrain and weather conditions they expect to face will vary significantly from day-to-day, making this an especially difficult hike to prepare for.

With an expected temperature range on the trail of between -10 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, their 35-45 pound packs have to contain everything they need to face the extreme weather that will surely be thrown at them. Oh, and they’ll be surrounded by wild animals, too. While most of the wildlife on the trail is harmless and does its best to stay out of hikers’ way, it’s worth noting that they may very well cross paths with bears and venomous snakes.

Since they see this trip as a way to show people at home what it’s really like to live in the woods for six months, Blunk says they plan to update the live feed on their website daily. He understands that there may be a few stretches where access to the internet will be unavailable, but is confident that they will be able to stay connected most of the time.

“The longest stretch the trail offers without access to a town is 10 days,” Blunk continued. “So you can expect our posts to be more frequent than that. Plan to view photo updates, video blogs, and other trail content often throughout our journey.”

It takes a lot of guts to attempt something like this, but it also costs money. According to their website, hiking the entire trail costs roughly $4000-$6000 per person. That’s a lot of money, especially if you’re a recent college graduate. If you’d like to support the Wild Outsiders monetarily, check out their donation page here.

Donations will go toward food, gear, supplies and other unexpected expenses that may arise. Follow them on Twitter @WildOutsiders.


  1. There is a great deal of soccer still to be
    performed in the protracted qualification
    in the African CAF They are nevertheless in the 2nd spherical, with the 10
    team winners then possessing to scrap it out in the ultimate qualification
    spherical, which is a two-legged perform off.
    Above in the CONCACAF, they are in the last qualification spherical, and there is tight fight
    to make it however. The United states and Costa Rica ought to be relaxed in reserving progress to
    the 2014 World Cup finals. There is going to be a closely ran point amongst Mexico, Honduras and Panama to acquire
    the last automated spot.

    Now permit us commence. In order to make the tempura batter, in a
    large vessel, whip the egg whites to a foam and enable them to
    stand for a brief even though. Next, sieve the flour and salt
    together and include this to the eggs, together with drinking water and baking powder to it.
    Gently stir this concoction two times and not far more as it requirements to be a small lumpy.

    Use chopsticks to stir, if you have any. Do not
    mix it vigorously as otherwise the gluten in the
    wheat will get actuated and on frying the crispness will be lost.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.


Enjoy a tasting and drinks from the best chefs the area has to offer!

Presented by

Join us Saturday, February 15, 6 p.m.
@ Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.



America’s intimate festival experience featuring cutting-edge music, the Midwest’s premier indie book fair, and readings and community happenings across downtown Iowa City.