Why Paul’s boots?
In August, our friends at The Dirtbag Diaries got a call from Australia. M’Lynn had a story to tell about her husband, Paul.
He was a big guy with a quick wit and kind heart. He wore size 13 boots and, despite a job as draftsman in the big city, he was happiest out on the trail. When Paul was 42, doctors diagnosed his mom with Parkinson’s. He nursed her for four years until her death. By that time, his father developed Alzheimer’s. The gaps between hiking trips grew longer and longer. By the time his father passed in 2011, Paul had two heart attacks. His love for the outdoors never diminished.
Paul’s health took a turn for the worse in 2014. Even as his body failed him, Paul started to pack for the trip he’d dreamed of completing—all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail. He organized his food and gear. At night, he’d recount to M’Lynn all he’d learned in his research. His heart no longer allowed him to walk much further than the end of his block, but his soul was ready to go. Next to a full backpack, he left his three polished sets of hiking boots.
Last July, Paul passed away. He was 53.
As M’Lynn moved through the stages of grief, it came time to tidy up Paul’s gear for a trip he wouldn’t take. She had an idea—one last gift to the man she loved. She needed help. Could we and our greater outdoor community get these boots out on the trail? It’s evolved. We think we can get these boots across the entire trail. Along the way, we can tell the story of Paul’s Boots and the folks who carry them.
Where are Paul’s boots?
On March 23rd, Paul’s Boots made it to the trail with the help of Thomas, a southbound thru-hiker. Follow his A.T. journey on Instagram.