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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: December 8, 2015

Trails that beckoned: Fig Newton on his 12,000 miles of hiking

Written by: Carey Kish

There aren’t many people in this life you could meet that have hiked 12,000 long distance trail miles. But Maine’s own Wayne Newton is of one them, and I highly recommend you take the opportunity to hear him this Thursday night in Brewer when he speaks to the good folks of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

I’ve known Wayne for a few years now, through the Maine Appalachian Trail Club where he’s been a trail maintainer, and through the Appalachian Mountain Club, where’s he’s been a volunteer and hike leader. He’s got that dry Maine humor side to him that you’ve sure got to pay attention to, or as Tim Sample might say, you just won’t get it right away.

Wayne’s trail name is Fig. Yes, you get it—Wayne “Fig” Newton. And when I was out there last spring down south in the North Carolina mountains, well, who should catch me and pass but none other than, yep, Fig, now on his fourth AT thru-hike.

Mainers on the AT this spring... Don Miskill, Wayne Newton and Carey Kish at Mountaineer Shelter, NC. Carey Kish photo.

Mainers on the AT this spring… Don Miskill, Wayne Newton and Carey Kish at Mountaineer Shelter, NC. Carey Kish photo.

I got to hike with him, more or less, for the day from Mountaineer Shelter outside of Elk Park to Dennis Cove near Laurel Fork Forge, hill country back of beyond thick with rhododendron and clear flowing streams. Fig carried a big pack and hiked in trail runners and averaged more miles than I cared to or perhaps could have. At the ripe age of 72, or something close to that. He’s pretty amazing. And I’m figuring he isn’t done yet.

Don Miskill and Wayned Newton amid the rhododendron on the AT in NC last April. Carey Kish photo.

Don Miskill and Wayne Newton on the AT in NC last April. Carey Kish photo.

Come on along and give a good listen to Fig’s many trail miles of experience. He’s got a lot to tell you. Here’s the poop on Wayne’s program from the AMC folks…

“Wayne Newton, hiker since youth, more motivated by retirement, trip leader for many years and story teller for the Appalachian Mountain Club, will talk about some of the more than 12,000 miles of trails he has followed.

The Long Trail runs south to north for 272 miles, the length of the state of Vermont. It is the oldest long-distance trail in the country, constructed in the early years of the twentieth century by the Green Mountain Club to promote stewardship of Vermont’s mountains.  The Long Trail traverses most of the Green Mountains’ major peaks.  About a third of it coincides with the AT.

Wayne has hiked it.   

The John Muir Trail starts in Yosemite National Park, and continues 215 miles through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and ends at the highest peak in continental United States, Mount Whitney at 14,496 ft.  Yosemite National Park had its beginnings when it was first protected by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.  John Muir himself worked to enlarge and enhance the area and its protection.  The park is now a World Heritage Site.

Wayne has hiked it.

The Pacific Crest Trail runs from Mexico to Canada along the crest of the mountains in California, Oregon, and Washington.  It begins at the Mexican border near Campo, California and ends at Manning Park in British Columbia, Canada.  It was formally designated by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 although it had been under construction for thirty years prior to National Trails System Act.

Wayne has hiked it. 

The Appalachian Trail is our trail.  It ends at Katahdin, 2186 miles from its beginning at Springer Mountain in Georgia, and was also formally established by the National Trails System Act.  One section has been maintained by Wayne Newton for thirty-five years.

Wayne has hiked it four times.”

Yep, he’s a been there-done that kind of guy when it comes to long distance hiking. Enjoy!

Join AMC at 6:30 PM, Thursday, December 10 at the First Congregational Church, 35 Church St. in Brewer. The event is free and open to the public.

Wayne "Fig" Newton getting it done on the AT down south last spring. Carey Kish photo.

Wayne “Fig” Newton getting it done on the AT down south last spring. Carey Kish photo.

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