Meet Sonny Lopez, also known by his trail name, Day-Man. Sonny began his Appalachian Trail thru-hike at Springer Mountain in Georgia on March 1st. He finished at the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine on September 20th. Along the way, he met new hiking friends and saw a lot of mountain scenery as he followed the Appalachians north through fourteen states.
Sonny saw four bears in New Jersey(!), one of them with cubs. He also saw a bull moose in New Hampshire, the seldom seen fisher-cat, and an aggressive raccoon.
His most challenging day was near Chestnut Knob in Virginia when he had to hike nineteen miles in the cold, wind, and rain to make it to the shelter. When he got there “soaked and beaten” it was already over-crowded, but somehow they made room for him. His longest hiking day was 30 miles–from Goddard Shelter to Manchester Center, Vermont.
Sonny lost 44 pounds! Carrying a backpack averaging 45 pounds for 2,178 miles will do that. He began the trail weighing 220 pounds and now estimates he weighs 176 pounds. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, he turned 24 on the trail, and on his birthday jumped off a rustic bridge into a river to celebrate.
Sonny says he “totally enjoyed” the adventure. He took more time than usual to finish but doesn’t regret taking the extra time to enjoy the experience. And good trail friends meant a lot.
Congratulations, Sonny. You set a very challenging goal and achieved it. We salute you!