Benton MacKaye never intended for his trail to be an alibi or a punchline, but former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford edited its entry in the cultural lexicon in 2009. After telling his staff he was going to hike the trail that June, Sanford went incommunicado for six days–neither his wife nor his chief of staff could contact him. It turns out the only exercise Sanford was getting was boarding planes to and from Argentina, where he was visiting his mistress, Argentine journalist Maria Belen Chapur. Revelations of the affair led to Sanford’s divorce and prompted him to resign his position as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. In a June 24, 2009 press conference, he tearfully apologized to his wife, family and all South Carolinanas — although he never apologized to the Appalachian Trail. Tsk tsk.
- Randall Lee Smith, The Appalachian Trail’s Very Own Serial Killer
- It’s Mark Sanford’s Favorite Excuse
- The Oldest Person to Complete It Was 81
- 99% Of It Has Been Rebuilt Over the Years
- The First Woman to Complete It Solo Had 23 Grandchildren
- There’s a Stop on New York’s Metro North Railroad
- It’s Not the Longest Hiking Trail in the World