Norman Smith Appalachian Trail

Milford barber celebrates hiking Appalachian Trail

Terry RogersBusiness, Headlines

Norman SmithAppalachian Trail

Milford barber Norman Smith remember when he decided hiking the Appalachian Trail was something he wanted to do.

Shoes bugged Norman Smith of Milford on his four-month hike of the Appalachian Trail.

“Some wore out, some hurt my feet, but overall, it was a challenge to find the right footwear,” Smith said. “Shoes I liked didn’t last very long and shoes that promised to be more durable hurt my feet.”

He lost weight.

“You just can’t carry enough food,” he said. “I lost over 20 pounds, returning home very thin for a man who is 6’2” at 151 pounds.”

And the weather in New England as he ended the Georgia-to-Maine trek did not cooperate.

“The hiking gets harder as you head north,” he said. “This was compounded this year with nearly non-stop rain. My feet were wet from Vermont to Baxter State Park in Maine. Days were cut short due to storms and other days were just miserable because of the rain and mud.”

But he didn’t quit and as soon as the Milford barber ended the 2,190-mile trail, he took a vacation with his wife, Megan, and their four children.

His Norman’s Deluxe Barbershop and Shave Parlor will reopen in September.

Smith can’t remember when he decided that hiking the trail sounded cool.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy claims the trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. More than three million people hike segments of the trail each year.

Appalachian Trail goal

“It’s always been one of those ‘I’d like to do that someday’ kind of things,” Smith said. “Back in November, I went on a solo hike on a section of the trail in Pennsylvania where I hurt my legs hiking too fast. I began to worry that my legs might be starting to go bad and if I did not do this soon, I may never be able to do it.”

Born and raised in Milford, Smith worked at Baltimore Air Coil for 20 years before going to barber school and opening his own shop six years ago.

“I started the trail at Amicoloia Falls State Park in Georgia,” Smith said. “There is an 8-mile approach trail from there to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the AT.”

Four months later, he completed the trail at its northern terminus on Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine.

Prior to tackling the trail, he had never hiked more than two nights and three days with an average range of 30 miles.

Smith began hiking about 18 years ago on a family vacation In Acadia National Park in Maine. He only did day hikes up until about three years ago when he and his family began backpacking.

The epic views were a highlight along the trail, he said.

“But, for, me it was the people I got to meet and spend time with along the way,” he said.

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If he hiked the trail again, there are things Smith would do differently.

“I did this hike fast. My goal was 120 days,” he said. “That’s about four months to accomplish something that most people take five to six months to do.”

He’s happy he hiked it like he did.

“That being said, if I did it again, I would want to do it with my wife and take a full six months to do it,” he said. “It’s a different kind of hike. My hike was more of an athletic endeavor. If I ever do it again, it would be to really enjoy the trail and the hiking culture.”

Smith thanked Megan for backing his goal.

“Without her love and support, I could never have made this journey,” Smith said. “She stayed home, worked a full time job, took care of the kids, went to school and still had enough in the tank for me when I needed moral support. I just can’t thank her enough.”


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