February 08, 2008
Hiking for Dollars

A few years ago one of my favorite students came in to ask me to sign off on his early (December instead of May) graduation form. I began to launch into my "why the heck would you want to leave college early--don't you know the real world sucks" lecture, but he stopped me short by saying he wanted to hike the 2175 mile Appalachian Trail and needed to start in March. Oh. Now that's a good reason to graduate early! I signed his form eagerly. He completed the hike and then moved to "do good" work in Oregon.

Now he wants to hike the 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail that runs from the Mexico border through California, Oregon, and Washington. Here's a section from his letter to friends:

If only I had been mature enough to listen to my advisor Dr. Lawson, and pursue a Master /PH.D in Economics and trust that my faith would always be there for me to explore later. Yet, my naive ears did not listen. As many of you know I left Capital for the wonders of the world, exploring the east coast as I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail the summer after my graduation... I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corp and worked for joy and love, having all my material needs provided for through this program and given a monthly stipend of $80.00.

He's trying to raise $2650 ($1 per mile) for charity along the way.

Who am I to say he chose wrong? He sounds plenty wealthy to me.

Posted by Robert Lawson at 11:08 AM in Sports

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. -Adam Smith

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