Hiking more than 20 miles a day, for 130 days – a total of 2,700 miles through five states – has landed one Andover-rooted hiker among the hiking elite.
His most recent hike, of the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada, is the third major hike for Pete Michelinie, 27, a 2004 Andover High School graduate. He has already hiked the Appalachian Trail (2,200 miles) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2,600 miles). Now, with his completion of the Continental Divide Trail, he’s got a trio of hiking accomplishments that just 170 hikers in the world have, he said.
“Pretty cool,” he humbly said of the accomplishment.
Especially when you hear about his no-frills hiking style. He had only a compass to guide him on the not so well-marked Continental Divide Trail that winds through woods, fields and some towns. He started in Palomas, Mexico on May 10 and ended in Montana on Oct. 5. (He took a short break in July and flew to Oregon to attend two weddings.)
He had no cell phone or GPS system, preferring to rely on his compass for directions. Remembering tips from Andover Youth Services and family camping trips were helpful for guidance, he said. Typically, he hiked all day and then ventured off the trail a bit to eat a meal at a restaurant. He faithfully found a payphone in some remote town each week to call his mom, Christine Michelinie of High Street.
He also found public libraries to send 13 emails to family and friends during the hike. He received packages from home along the way to restock his basic supplies.
“I was on an adventure,” he said. “It is an amazing way to see the country...It was someplace new every day. I would sleep somewhere new every day.”
Windmills were a key marker on his hiking landscape, and as he hiked he would enjoy seeing the next windmill get closer and closer. He would set up his tent as darkness approached and be on the trail just after sunrise the following day.