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Monday, April 3rd, 2006 -- 8:23 AM

Audio - 2:43

A Neillsville-area couple will share the story of their six-month, virtually non-stop hike of the Appalachian Trail at a Neillsville Public Library presentation this week.

Joanne and Daryl Zier began their hike in Georgia on March 9th, 2005? they stopped 2,174 miles later in Maine.

?I?ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, but I don?t want to walk to see the Grand Canyon, I?ll just watch a video,? Zier jokes. ?I don?t want to walk anywhere ever again.?

Joanne, 50, and Daryl, 56, spent only two days off the trail as they hiked from March through September. They suffered injuries and virtually every kind of weather ? from humid 90-degree temperatures to rude winter blasts.

Their adventure didn?t get off to the best of starts. Near the outset of their journey, Joanne sprained an ankle, but they kept moving forward.

?When I sprained it, there was absolutely no place to stop,? Zier remembers. ?So I hobbled along and tied it up with my bandana the best I could.?

?We had to go a couple miles to find a place that we could put a tent. (Daryl) would carry his pack up the trail and set it down and come back and get mine,? Joanne says.

Also in Georgia, they encountered some unexpected terrible weather.

?The temperature just plummeted. It started to snow. It was windy and we were exhausted,? Zier recalls. ?It got to eight-degrees. It was a long, scary night because the wind was blowing and just whipping the tent.?

Joanne says her husband likes to take vacations in ?remote? locations, but she wanted to do something ?more social? ? and even with the beautiful scenery, the people they met will be what she remembers most.

Joanne spent six months preparing dehydrated food for the trip. They carried six to ten days of food in backpacks weighing around 30 pounds. When they ran out of food, they?d hitchhike to nearby villages to restock.

While the trip was amazing, Zier concedes she was happy to return home to the ?Land of Clean Socks?.

There?s much more about their trip they plan to share at a special presentation at the [b]Neillsville Public Library Wednesday night at 6 p.m.[/b]

On the Web:
[url=http://www.nps.gov/appa/]National Parks Service: Appalachian Trail[/url]

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