In 2011, Rich Mayfield, Member #1211, took a bus to Key West to start a journey that would ultimately last all year and take him across the United States. His goal was to hike from the southern tip of Florida to the US border with Canada. His journey took him along the Florida Trail and Appalachian Trail. He passed through 16 states over 11 months and through all of the seasons and terrain that the east coast has to offer.
In a previous presentation, Rich detailed the Florida section of his hike to the club. His path took him across the keys, through the Everglades, along lakes and rivers, into swamps and hammocks, and ultimately along the sandy beaches of the gulf. The first major milestone in his trek was Fort Pickens near Pensacola, a destination that marks a journey across the entirety of Florida. The next great step was
making it to the Appalachian Trail in Northern Georgia, then up the length of the 2100 mile trail.
During this interview, Rich will recount his experience trekking from Pensacola, up the the Appalachian Trail, and following that trail all the way to Canada. He will talk about the challenges that he faced along the way, as well as the unique challenges he dealt with as an insulin dependent diabetic trekking such a long distance.
Rich Mayfield has been adventuring his entire life. Starting with family camping trips as a child, he made his way through Boy Scouts, became an Eagle Scout and then went on to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. While studying on the Severn River, he continued his adventuring in the summers sailing around the Chesapeake and up the Eastern Seaboard, Racing to Bermuda, Sea Kayaking through Prince William Sound in Alaska, and while on leave, hopping Air Force flights to tour Europe.
Rich studied Systems Engineering at the US Naval Academy and after commissioning went on to complete Navy Nuclear Power School, Prototype, and Submarine School. While transitioning to Dive School en route to Hawaii, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and subsequently disqualified him from submarine duty.
After the Navy, Rich dropped off the grid for a year in order to undertake a hike from Key West to Canada along the Florida Trail and the Appalachian Trail, a route collectively known as the Eastern Continental Trail.
Upon completing this trek, Rich began working as an Engineer focused on electronics, automation, and robotics. He eventually settled in Southern California and started teaching Engineering. He lives in Villa Park with his wife Lauren and son Jack.