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AT Hikers

Profile: Booboo
By Ken Anderson
Oct 5, 2004 - 5:55:00 PM

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Booboo came into the Magic City Morning Star & Hard Drive Cafe on Tuesday, October 5, 2004, having summited Mount Katahdin, completing a northbound hike of the Appalachian Trail on October 3rd. Booboo is known as Peter Bryan Garcia back home in Clewiston, Florida.
Booboo, also known as Peter Bryan Garcia

Booboo began his quest to complete the AT hike on March 15th, carrying a pack weighing 42 pounds, loaded. Unlike many other thru-hikers, he didn't worry much about lightening his load. In fact, it weighed in at 50 pounds at White House Landing. He carried a PCT-1 tent, which he slept in much of the time while on the trail. He also stayed in the shelters from time to time, and even in the open air when the weather was right and the view invited a night under the stars. Rather than restricting himself to a schedule imposed by shelter locations, he would often hike until he was ready to call it a day, then pitch his tent, if a tent was necessary.

While there were periods of solitude, even loneliness, he was not alone out there. Booboo says that on his first night on the trail, there were 30 people in the campsite, and he summited with 24 other thru-hikers. Thru-hikers travel at their own pace, so while he hiked with the same person as far as Hot Springs, North Carolina, there they split up, coming across each other every now and then along the rest of the route.

"I made it a point to get to know people," he said.

Asked what his favorite part of the AT hike was, he, like many hikers before him, had trouble thinking of just one.

"It's really tough to think of one," he said. "I guess the Whites; I completely enjoyed it." He also liked Hot Springs, North Carolina, so much so that he spent a week there. As for beauty, however, he gave credit to Maine.

"By far, Maine has been the most beautiful part of the trail," he said. With fall setting in along the Appalachian Trail, he described Maine as being a lot like a red carpet for thru-hikers. "It was beautiful," he added, describing it as being "like walking on roses."

As for the worst part of his Appalachian Trail hike, he said anytime that it was raining. "Especially in Vermont," he said. "I got stuck in a shelter because of storms from the hurricane."

Pressed, he said that there was one point in the Katawba Valley, in Virginia, where he considered quitting.

"I was alone, and I had run out of food and fuel," he explained, adding that it is a principle of the trail that a hiker shouldn't continue after it has ceased to be fun. But then he came to a shelter, and found some of his friends, and his outlooked changed for the better.

Prior to taking on the AT, he had hiked parts of the Florida Trail, and done some snowshoeing in Washington. Beyond that, he said that his experiences as a Boy Scout and as a Scoutleader have been helpful. Having learned how to start a fire and to be comfortable outdoors gave him an advantage during his months on the trail.

He doesn't think he'll hike the Appalachian Trail again, having already achieved that objective, but he does intend to help maintain the Georgia segment of the trail.

"I might do the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) before I do the AT again," he said.

But there are no regrets. He said that his experiences on the Appalachian Trail have changed him forever.

"Everything I've learned in six months, I now have to incorporate into my life," he said. He added that his view of people has changed, in that he now sees the inherent good in people. He said that the trail has already has made a significant change in his life. While he hasn't decided just what he wants to do with the rest of his life, he now wants to do something that involves the outdoors or the outdoor recreation industry.


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