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May 28, 2021

Local man’s cross-country hike complete 40 years ago

WCAU-TV 10
Click above to watch WCAU-TV 10’s story about Thursday’s re-enactment of Hikanation’s conclusion in 1981.
It felt symbolic to touch the boot of the stick in the Atlantic 40 years later. It was a great day to be alive.
— Gomer Pyles
A man from The Plains waded into the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday exactly 40 years after he and 80 others completed “Hikanation,” a cross-country walk from San Francisco.

Gomer Pyles completed the 4,286-mile hike with his young daughter Jamie on his back. The hike took almost 14 months.

A Philadelphia TV station covered the story as Mr. Pyles and Stacey Waring of Oakton stepped into the Atlantic at Cape Henlopen, Del., just as they did four decades ago.

“I decided to bring along the hiking stick that I had carved that was supposed to be carried across country during the hike but got lost,” Mr. Pyles wrote Thursday on Facebook. “Our hike coordinator, Monty, retraced the Hikanation journey and found the stick in a wood pile at Bryce Canyon.

“A year later he handed it to me. It felt symbolic to touch the boot of the stick in the Atlantic 40 years later. It was a great day to be alive.”

After the hike, Mr. Pyles settled in The Plains, where he continues to run a computer consulting and repair business. He also gardens and photographs the local countryside.
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