Mushroom came into the Magic City Morning Star & Hard Drive Cafe not long before we closed for the evening. He had just completed a thru-hike, finishing at the top of Mount Katahdin in the same group as Caterpillar. Also known as Terry Feezel, Mushroom is from Bethalto, Illinois.
|Mushroom, also known as Terry Feezel|
He left Springer Mountain on March 28th, making it to Katahdin about ten days short of six months. When he left Georgia, he said he weighed 250 pounds. The last time he weighed himself along the way, he had dropped to 165 pounds. He carried a tent, but slept most nights in shelters, estimating that he had tented perhaps no more than ten nights, when the shelters were full or the bugs particularly bad.
Mushroom's favorite part of the trip was the Shenandoahs, where the hiking conditions were ideal; the trails were well maintained, there were camp stores along the way, and waysides that provided conveniences for hikers.
Asked about the worst part of the journey, he said that there wasn't any.
"I really don't think there was a worst," he said, after giving it some thought. "There was a part that was more difficult," he said, naming Mahoosuc Notch as part of the trail where he had he greatest difficulty. In hiker's journals, Mahoosuc Notch, a narrow gorge between Fulling Mill and Mahoosuc mountains, in Maine, is described as a natural obstacle course. "It was a great challenge," admitted Mushroom. "I still enjoyed it, though."
Mushroom insisted that during the entire journey, he never once considered quitting. "Not one time did I feel that way," he said, as he sat drinking his coffee. "Not once did I think about getting off the trail."
Last year he had hiked about seventy miles of the Smokies, and did some section hiking the year before that, but he was successful in his first attempt at a thru-hike. "I didn't skip any of the parts that I had done before," he said. "This year I did them again."
While he will never forget his experiences on the trail, he doesn't think he'll hike the entire AT again, although he will probably do some section hiking. "Once is enough," he said. "I met the challenge, and that's all I need."
Mushroom turned 65 years old on August 24th, while on the trail.