iSchool alumna embarks on Appalachian Trail adventure

mary_jeanes2Florida State University School of Information alumna Mary Jeanes is in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure as she attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail in its entirety this summer.

The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world, measuring approximately 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through 14 states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Ga., to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.

Jeanes earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology from the iSchool in 2012, and went on to get a Master’s of Business Administration in 2013 from FSU’s College of Business.  The two-time FSU graduate has been accepted to the FSU Film Program for the upcoming fall semester, but took the time to challenge herself on the Trail before returning to campus.

“I am doing this because I want to set a tone for the rest of my life, Jeanes said. “I want my life to always be full of adventure and new experiences. It is going splendidly! I have met so many great people from all walks of life and have been challenged both physically and mentally. It definitely is about having the right mindset out here.”

While an estimated 2 to 3 million people visit the Trail every year, only about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail or hike the entire distance.  Only one in four succeed on their journey.

As of May 2, Jeanes had hiked 417 miles in five weeks.  She has 1,768 miles remaining to her ultimate goal of reaching Katahdin, Maine – the Trail’s most northern point.

“The film program starts late August, so my goal is to be done by mid-August,” Jeanes said. “I’ve been trying to pick up my pace now that I have my ‘hiking legs’ so I’ll be getting higher mileage through Virginia.”

Jeanes started the adventure by herself, but has met many people along the Trail and made friends along the way.