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At twelve, hiking with his father on a trail in the Delaware Water Gap, he met his first backpacker. When asked, "Where'd you start?" the middle-aged man said, "Wind Gap" some twenty miles away. Impressed that there would be such a long trail, Keith whistled, "This trail goes all the way to Wind Gap?" The older man chuckled, then turned the boy's head westward and said, "See those white markings on the bark of the tree?" Shaking his head he heard the man say, "If you'd keep following them you'd wind up in Georgia." As his eyes widened with the notion of a path continuing for more than a thousand miles, the lanky older man then turned his head the other direction and said, "And that way would lead you all the way to Northern Maine, 2000 miles in all."
Walking back to the car from their day's outing the young lad said to his father, "Someday I'm going to hike the whole thing." His father wisely replied, "You could son . . . you really could . . . if you set your mind to it, that is."
He realized his dream of finishing the Appalachian Trail, along with other dream treks including a Florida-to-Canada bicycle trek and a significant canoe trek from Indianapolis to Mississippi, but even always there was this junior high dream to trek the Missouri River. One day he hoped to travel its entire length.
Husband and the father of two sons, his time was limited for such extensive treks until the boys went away to college and were married, and his summers were free with a faculty position at Indiana Wesleyan University limited to the school year.
In 1999, that little boy wrapped up inside a body in its 50's realized his dream, and the result is a guidebook for others who will likely follow in his footsteps, especially in the first decade of the 2000's when many eyes turn toward the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.