"Someday" And "Hillbilly Bart" To Be First To Trek New Great Eastern Trail Through Chattanooga

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Joanna "Someday" Swanson and "Hillbilly Bart"
Joanna "Someday" Swanson and "Hillbilly Bart"

Two hikers are attempting to become the first to complete a hike of the entire Great Eastern Trail
(GET). Joanna "Someday" Swanson and her friend "Hillbilly Bart" plan to arrive on Lookout
Mountain on Saturday, having hiked northward several hundred miles from central Alabama.

The GET is a new long-distance hiking trail comparable to the Appalachian Trail (AT). It passes
directly through Chattanooga, making Chattanooga by far the largest city in the country to host a
major trail.

The GET extends nearly 1,800 miles between Alabama's Flagg Mountain and the
North Country National Scenic Trail just south of New York's Finger Lakes. About 75 percent of it is
open to hiking.

If Joanna and Bart complete the trail, they will accomplish a feat similar to that of Earl Shaffer when he became the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in 1948. One difference between Shaffer’s and Swanson's hikes is that the GET is further along toward completion now than the AT was in 1948.

The 30-mile preferred route of the GET in Chattanooga will use the (presently incomplete) greenway system. When the system is complete, hikers will cross into Tennessee from Georgia
on Lookout Mountain, utilize National Park Service and Lookout Mountain Conservancy trails
to reach the Guild Trailhead, traverse the Riverpark greenway to the CB Robinson Bridge,
hopefully cross the river using that bridge, then take the proposed Northshore Greenway to the
North Chickamauga Creek Greenway. This latter trail will eventually extend to the North
Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area in Soddy Daisy, where hikers will proceed to the
Cumberland Trail. From this point the GET is co-aligned with the Cumberland Trail all the way
to Kentucky.

Due to the greenway system being incomplete at this time, Joanna and Bart will use the 20-mile
GET interim route between the Guild Trailhead and the State Natural Area. This route is a
designated path along city streets--not at all unpleasant for thru-hikers desiring the many
amenities that Chattanooga has to offer.

On Wednesday, they were holed up behind an abandoned store on Lookout Mountain waiting out tornado and flood warnings. They expected to reach Cloudland Canyon State Park on Thursday.

Jo is a trail geek from Minnesota who loves pomegranates, deep purple, and Ace of Base. She moved to West Virginia in 2011 to volunteer as the Great Eastern Trail Coordinator (VISTA), which she said was one of the best years of her life. She has also lived in Alabama, Alaska, Oregon, Chile, and on a ship. She studied anthropology and languages at several colleges and later studied international communication and environmental education in grad school. She volunteered on the Superior Hiking Trail (MN) and the North Country Trail (WI). Jo hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2009-2010 where she earned the name of "Someday." She hiked the Superior Hiking Trail a couple of times during 2006-2008, the Long Trail in 2011, and the Benton MacKaye Trail in 2012.

Hillbilly Bart is from Mullens, West Virginia. He graduated from Concord College in Athens, WV. He likes beans, beer, cornbread, and Wang Chung's song Dance Hall Days. He enjoys fly-fishing, hunting and canning anything edible, and hiking with his dog Sula. His other hobbies include growing out his beard and turning his front- and backyard into a wildlife science project. He plays guitar and writes songs. He is the athletic trainer for Wyoming East High School and president of the Upper Guyandotte Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Bart recently completed his first marathon and has done extensive hiking.

The Great Eastern Trail Association and local outdoor organizations are planning an event to
introduce the public to the Chattanooga segment of the trail. The “Great Eastern Trail-
Chattanooga Weekend” scheduled for April 27 and 28 will include hikes and bike tours on all
major sections of the greenway system from the Cumberland Trail in North Chickamauga Creek
Gorge State Natural Area to Lookout Mountain.

For more information please visit the following websites: www.greateasterntrail.net. www.gethiking.net.


National Archery In Schools Program Subject For June Nature At Noontime

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), will be the subject for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s June Nature at Noontime program. The program will be held on Thursday, June 2, from noon-1 p.m. at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building located in the Ellington Agriculture Complex. Don Crawford, TWRA assistant chief for Information and Education and the ... (click for more)

TWRA Officials To Attend Meeting In Regard To Kentucky Lake Crappie Fishery

Officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency are among those who will be attending a public meeting regarding the crappie fishery on Kentucky Lake. The meeting, requested by State Representative Tim Wirgau, will be held on Tuesday, June 14, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Enoch Building at the Henry County Fairgrounds in Paris. TWRA fisheries personnel will attend to share ... (click for more)

Child Bitten By Dog In Bradley County

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a child who was bitten by a dog. While saturating an area in Bradley County, a deputy observed a vehicle traveling on the roadway with a child not restrained and sitting in a passenger’s lap inside the vehicle. Once the deputy approached the vehicle, he noticed a child bleeding which was the result of a dog bite. ... (click for more)

Man Rescued From The Pocket Wilderness On Sunday

Rescue personnel started the Memorial Holiday weekend at the Pocket Wilderness hiking trails on Sunday morning. A man had been camping on the trails with friends Saturday night when the accident occurred. They had been gathering branches for firewood when he tripped and fell on a branch which impaled his thigh. With no cell service and having no daylight, the group waited ... (click for more)

Fruit Basket Turnover

I have been teaching for 21 years now, so I’ve been through my share of school leaders. Every one of them taught me something important. Whether it was Don Bishop from Red Bank High School who, after almost 30 years at Red Bank, taught me to invest in the longevity of my career, Wade Kelly who taught me to thoroughly weigh options before making a decision, Gail Chuy who taught me ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Let Me Be Clear’

I have seen a lot of human beings who have gotten themselves in terrible messes in my time and more self-induced agony than I want to recall. Will Rogers famously said, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” That’s the truth and if you ever didn’t think that “Politics corrupts,” consider the genius behind the line, “It ain’t long those who get elected … begin to think ... (click for more)