Peggy Grantham

History of FTA Panhandle Trace Hike

Panhandle Trace Hike #10, 2013A little history, Peggy Grantham says,

"In about 2001 when Western Gate had finished the trail to the Alabama line we decided to "name" the sections of FT that went from Fort Pickens to the AL line so we had a contest to see who could come up with the best name. The winning name was "The Panhandle Trace".

"Shortly after that several of us thought it would be neat to have a hike on it but I, who had in 1995 hiked the 'Big O', wanted to copy their format. I started planning it with hopes that other chapter members would get behind my ideas and help me. Not being good at asking for help it turned out I did all myself, except for my boy friend at the time, George, who helped me a lot by being the 'Trail Angel'* while I hiked it.

"The first year was 2003 and though I had several start out on the first day and several end it on the last day there were only 4 of us that did the whole nearly 100 miles! I bought us all T-shirts and called us Tracers!

"The second year I had 7 finish the whole hike.

"In 2005 I had to cancel it because of a hurricane that tore up our trails too badly. When I did it again in 2006 it was a bust, only 2 of us finished. I decided I would NOT do it again!

"But friends suggested I change direction and go north to south so I decided one more try at it. Unfortunately my boyfriend died on me and I had no Trail Angel to help me, so I decided I would be my own trail angel for this hike as I had already done it 3 times. That year I had the most hikers then I have had since! I had 16 finish!

"The last 5 years I have continued it on my own and it seems to go well but takes a lot out of me, physically, mentally and financially so last year I decided this year would be my last. But Christine Hale, who was one of my first Tracers, will take over and continue the hike in her way." (See Christine's hike link below.}

* The Trail Angel takes care of all hikers' needs. Each day she drives you from the hike meeting point to the hike starting point. She then drives to intermediate points along the trail in case anyone wants to stop early or to provide any other help needed. She is in contact by cell phone. Having hosted this hike for nine years, she knows what wonders, joys, or problems to anticipate and solve.

Links

Event Meetup site with links to each day for 2013: http://www.meetup.com/ftawesterngate/events/100538362/

Previous years' Event Meetup sites: History

Facebook Group for 2013: https://www.facebook.com/groups/325937587465189/327663710625910/

From Florida hikes for 2012: http://www.floridahikes.com/taking-on-the-panhandle-trace.

Event Meetup site for 2014 led by Christine Hale: http://www.meetup.com/ftawesterngate/events/145037242/

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