By Eric Stock
NORMAL – A man from Normal who said he had never camped in his life is in the midst of a camping trip of a lifetime.
Nick Cellini graduated from Millikin last December, and in late June, he embarked on a 2,200-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail which stretches from Maine to Georgia.
He said it’s been a goal of his since a taking family vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and figured he’s better off doing it now while he’s in his 20s.
Cellini told WJBC’s Scott Laughlin his confidence has grown on the trip knowing there’s no one to help him, but it’s been far from a joyride.
“Most of the day I spend 12 hours hiking, alone with myself,” Cellini said. “I don’t listen to music or very rarely I do. I think of the same things over and over again and it just drives you insane.”
Cellini said he’s seen about eight bears and some rattle snakes and porcupines in the 1,800 miles he’s traveled so far carrying only the bare essentials.
“My self-confidence has just gone through the roof while being out here because I am out here on ny own, and I don’t really have any choice but to be confident and make things work when I need them to work,” Cellini said.
Cellini said he misses the comforts of home and his family too, and he doesn’t know what he will do when he gets back home.
He sometimes uses his smart phone to listen to music, but has to preserve the battery traveling about 18 miles per day on foot. He is currently in Erwin, Tenn. and plans to reach Springer Mountain, Ga. by Oct. 20.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.