Post Content

Gary Briere

Gary Briere

Recreation Bureau Chief, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

View Gary's Bio

Mike Hanson

For many people, recreation includes testing their personal limits. Spend a little time in any Massachusetts state park, forest or reservation, and you will find people of all ages, sizes and abilities walking, running, swimming, cycling or otherwise transporting themselves across the landscape, strengthening their bodies and their spirit as they connect with the natural world, their companions, and themselves. Some take on a bigger challenge than others.

On July 24th, while hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) over Mount Race in the Mt. Everett State Reservation, I met Mike Hanson of Minnesota. You often encounter “through hikers” along the trail in Massachusetts. Through hikers are attempting to walk the entire Appalachian Trail, more than 2,000 miles, between Georgia and Maine. Mike is not your typical hiker though – he is blind.

Using two hiking poles to feel his way along the steep and rocky trail and a special Geographic Positioning System (GPS) designed to keep him on course, Mike and his videographer companion have negotiated more than 1,000 miles so far. But the magnitude of that accomplishment is hard to imagine until you watch Mike travel 100 feet. When I met him, he was making his way down a steep and rocky section of trail that requires full attention for even the strongest hiker. Carrying a pack that weighed over 30 pounds, he was probing for handholds and footholds with his white hiking poles and testing every foot placement to make sure that a stray rock, root, or crevice wouldn’t be the last step of his incredible journey. In this slow and deliberate way, he was walking over mountains to Maine. It’s fitting that his adopted trail name is Bulldog.

Mike hopes to make a point with his incredible journey. He’d like the public to recognize that people who are blind are capable and adaptive technologies like GPS can foster their independence. He notes that more than 70 percent of the visually impaired are unemployed and he’d like to demonstrate that the disability does not preclude independence and accomplishment. He made his point with me.

Follow Mike’s amazing journey on his Facebook page at the Hanson Appalachian Trail Campaign or visit his website.

And you can be like Mike. Whatever your abilities or limitations, stretch them today.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor! posted on Aug 18

Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor!

Looking for a fun day trip for you and possibly your family? Look no further, the Boston Harbor Islands are the place to be. Lots of events take place on these islands during the summer months, so enjoy these festivities while they are here! Spectacle   …Continue Reading Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor!

K-9 to the Rescue posted on Aug 13

K-9 to the Rescue

At 5:35 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, Officer Art O’Connell got a call about two missing girls in Douglas State Park. Officer O’Connell, his partner Diesel and a back up state trooper had to search the 5,900-acre, nine square mile, park on foot, as the canopy of the trees was too thick to search via helicopter and the ground too uneven to search by vehicle.

History of Pickling posted on Aug 11

History of Pickling

Looking for an easy way to preserve the delicious produce you bought during Farmer’s Market Week? Read more on the history of pickling. Served crispy as an appetizer or spicy as a snack, pickled green beans, more commonly known as “Dilly Beans”, can even be   …Continue Reading History of Pickling