Tales from the scenic route

As we’ve written in these spaces before, we have infinite respect for those who push the boundaries and take the time to chase their explorer side. Two such people are in the news today.

First, Jared McCallum…

McCallum, a Marine vet, spent the early part of the year walking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, then decided he wanted to spend the last half of the year canoeing the entire length of the Mississippi River. He announced on his Facebook page yesterday that he — and his dog — made it.

I made it! 2 checks please on the bucket list! I will say that it is an awesome feeling but I know that if it were not for the hundreds of people I met along the way I would never even have made it out my front door. With the greatest humility and my most sincerest gratitude I want to thank every one of you! Even a simple like on my pics, a hitch, food, water or a comment of encouragement was monumental in the success of this journey! The Appalachian Trail(2185 miles) and the Mighty Mississippi(2350 miles guestimated) boast some of the best views, incredible sunrises and sunsets. They are life blood for so many towns and people. Twisting, turning, climbing, dropping over America, this journey was an expression of freedom! And I want to dedicate these last 7 months of freedom to all who gave the ultimate sacrifice! Without I wouldn`t be able to enjoy this beautiful country, AMERICA! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

McCallum canoed through the Twin Cities in late September.

Meanwhile, the Pioneer Press says Rick Light, retired from Woodbury High School, and his wife, Connie, are heading for snowbird country — Fort Myers, Fla.– by bicycle.

This exploration stuff is serious business. Connie gouged her knee in an accident on railroad tracks in Indiana. So, they spent her recuperation time driving to see friends in Virginia.

After recuperation and a return to Indiana to pick up the bike, they drove to Atlanta, where they resumed their trip.

“It was about 400 miles that we had to cut out,” Rick Light said, “but we got to do other things.”

The Lights began their trip Sept. 18, riding three to five hours and covering about 35 miles a day, bunking at friends’ houses and hotels. They pull a 60-pound trailer with their personal belongings, a tool kit and spare parts.

Last week, they were in northern Florida, and they plan to reach Fort Myers sometime this week.

Rick Light said he had always hoped to take a trip like this.

“I thought the perfect bike trip would be in the fall,” he said. “Fall will follow us down.”