Charlotte, North Carolina
Trail Name: The Blackalachian
2017 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker
Daniel White—trail name Blackalachian—had completed nearly half of his Appalachian Trail thru-hike when he stopped to camp overnight with a fellow hiker at Pen Mar Park, just south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. As darkness fell, a group of white men who were uncharacteristically quiet and unfriendly considering their proximity to the trail left the pavilion—only to return on bicycles with blinding spotlights before being joined by some friends with large dogs. When the intimidating group began howling like wolves, Daniel knew it was time to pack up their gear and hike off into the night. They were less than a mile from the Mason-Dixon Line, the unofficial cultural demarcation between the North and the South of the United States. During the entire seven-month trek, Daniel encountered only one other Black thru-hiker.