A life-changing injury heals with a new passion
BY KRISTEN GAYDOS
A broken neck and a pink tutu were the catalyst for Rich Evans' discovery of his passion for hiking and his involvement in the backpacking community.
The Mountain Top resident was living in Florida in the early 1990s when he suffered the injury that would change his life. He wouldn't have had the "good fortune" to discover his love of hiking if he hadn't fallen out of a bucket truck and broken his neck while working in Florida.
The accident forced Evans to give up the 70-hour work weeks he put in at the sign company he owned in exchange for four months of bed confinement. When watching television grew old after a few days, the then 38-year-old turned to reading.
Evans happened upon the book that would change his life: "A Walk Across America," Peter Jenkins tale of his 1970s hike from New York to the Gulf of Mexico.
"The whole book just lit of fire under me," Evans said, adding he soon began consuming any book he could get his hands on that related to hiking and the Appalachian Trail. "I just knew. I knew that was going to be a big part of my new life."
As soon as he was able to leave the bed behind, Evans purchased backpacking gear and hit the Florida trails for day hikes to build up endurance before tackling the trails up north.He knew his first backpacking adventure had to take place on the famous Appalachian Trail.