John Mills

(photo by Rex Halfpenny)

(photo by Scott Davis)

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John Mills, after HikaNation

November 24, 2008
Hi Bill Ewart,

Your website recently received a hit from someone that you & others probably assumed had "fallen off the edge of the earth", or more appropriately, kept on walking and drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. Actually, I'm still alive and kicking (and hiking!) in Tucson, AZ, where I have lived with my family for the last 7 1/2 years (my wife's family is from here) after spending 16 years of my life in the San Francisco Bay area. I have made numerous visits to the Washington D.C. area (Alexandria, VA), but mostly to visit family there. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to simply google HikaNation to find out if anyone had had the idea of creating a website with their photo collection (and possibly other hiker's photo's as well). Last Thursday night, although I didn't access the website until the next day (which I had off from work), my 17-year old daughter Hannah, a freshman at the Univ. of AZ here in Tucson , had the idea of googling HikaNation and ended up emailing to my cell phone a picture she found of me on that website (actually a picture of you in front of the West Virginia sign at the RR crossing over the Potomac river at Harpers Ferry-I just happen to be on the extreme left of the picture having taken or about to take the same picture). I hadn't given "the hike" much thought over the last 7 1/2 years (my own slides have been in "hiber"nation for atleast 10 years) but I spent 4 hours last Friday going over your pictures and going down memory lane. Unfortunately, and certainly not by choice, I haven't been able to attend any of the reunions (except Arkansas's White Rock Mtn. in 1982) at Cape Henlopen or the last one at Cumberland Falls S.P. in Kentucky. If anyone is planning one for 2010, I'd certainly like to know and be there if possible.

Most of all I just wanted to (belatedly) thank you for sharing your pictures with everyone else, all the hard work that you put into the website, and for refocusing my thoughts on such a memorable event in each of our lives. The only hikers I have been in touch with since the hike ended are Ed Deschesne, Phillippe Vermeyen, Jerry Benson, Rex Halfpenny, Rich Warnick, Butch Henley, Stacey Waring, Cindy Bain, Lyle Bialk, & Jeannie Harmon (all a long time ago in the years immediately following the hike), and more recently, Keith & Linda Wright and Joe Schute. "Walking Bob", if he is still alive, may still live in Bisbee, AZ, not far from here, but I haven't been in touch with him. So I guess I have a lot of catching up to do! I only have knowledge of 3 people having passed away since the hike ended-- John Stout in the late 1980's, I think (not sure) Monty Montgomery, and, as I learned upo n visiting the website,sadly at the same age I was at the time (my birthday is only 8 days after his), Randy Blymire, your fellow "recording artist". If anyone else has passed away, I would be interested in being brought up to date.

Thats about it from here-I'm going to list my email and snail-mail address's and you're welcome to share them with anyone interested in contacting me. Again, thanks for sharing your pictures-they make a great collection. Maybe someday soon I"ll scan my own (before the color dye in the slides fades!) so that I atleast preserve them for posterity.

HikaNation Forever! & Happy Trails,

John Mills
5664 N. Camino Arturo
Tucson, AZ 85718