Eye on Cwla

Article excerpt

Crossing the Finish Line

After months of hiking over mountains, cooking meals over an open flame, and going days between showers, Mike Kanarick and Liz Kleinberg completed their journey over the Appalachian Trail to benefit CWLA in October. Known by their trail names, Moo and 42, the couple began their 2,200-mile trek on March 24 at Springer Mountain in Georgia's Amicalola Falls State Park and ended at Mt. Katahdin, Maine on October 11. Through sponsors, Kanarick and Kleinberg raised $40,000 in pledges to support CWLA's work nationwide.

In their seven months on the trail, Moo and 42 encountered frogs, snakes, deer, wild ponies, a herd of longhorn cattle, and even black bears, among other wildlife, but they managed to avoid bodily harm. Even so, they soon found life on the Appalachian Trail turns simple conveniences into luxuries. Any opportunity to wander off the trail and enjoy Chinese food, pizza, or burgers, or the chance to see a film in a local movie theater, were all considered godsends. They passed an occasional rainy day playing Monopoly, and took more than a few trips in the back of pickup trucks to purchase supplies in nearby towns. But most of their time was spent walking, anywhere from 5 to 22 miles a day, with a few "0 days" built in to rest and recuperate.

On July 1, at the Appalachian Trail Conference National Headquarters in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, the hikers were greeted by CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik, members of the CWLA staff, and employees and children from Burlington United Methodist Family Services and Children's Home Society of West Virginia. A local television station covered the event.

A few weeks later, the couple ran into a group of teenagers from Newark, New Jersey, who were hiking for several days as part of a youth leadership program, a run-in that reminded Kanarick and Kleinberg why they'd set out on their journey in the first place. A few weeks after that, they passed a group of Dartmouth students on their freshman trip, reminding Kanarick of his outdoor adventure as a new student at the same university years ago.

The couple had to deal with rain for the first 12 days of August, including the celebration of their ninth wedding anniversary in Connecticut on August 6. But so-called trail angels made the gloomy weather and trying circumstances a bit easier to take, arriving at the most unlikely times with foods such as strawberry shortcake, and even pancakes, delivered to the roadside early one morning.

Kanarick and Kleinberg aren't sure what challenge they'll tackle next, but CWLA thanks them for drawing attention to children's issues and making a sizable contribution to our efforts to help children, youth, and families. …