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Every Trail Connects: REI Explores the Stories of the Appalachian Trail

Every Trail Connects

As part of it’s #OptOutside campaign, REI is taking a look at some of the key hiking trails around the country and some of the stories connected to them in a new series called Every Trail Connects. 

This episode of Every Trail Connects focuses on the Appalachian Trail and a man known simply as Ponytail Paul. Ponytail Paul lives in rural Maine and after having some major highs followed by an all time low in his life, like many others, he turned to the Appalachian Trail for healing. Only for him, healing didn’t come simply by hiking, but by helping.

Paul lives in an area very near the 100-acre wilderness in Maine, one of the toughest stretches of the AT and has taken it upon himself to take food and luxuries that hikers would never otherwise get to help make their hikes a little easier and their lives a little better. By doing so, he has earned the title of “Trail Angel” and found some peace that has helped him turn his own life back around.

Such an amazing and heartwarming story. While not every detail of Paul’s story is included, it’s clear that what happened to him was very unfortunate and something that had serious consequences. But what is even clearer, here however, is the healing power of nature and the Appalachian Trail.

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Every Trail Connects: REI Explores the Stories of the Appalachian Trail