az_at_logo_v05I finished this amazing journey by reaching the summit of Mt Katahdin in Maine at 9AM on August 16th. What an awesome summer. Thank you to all who supported me and our charities and a big shout out to my wife Elizabeth who was reluctant last year when I first proposed an AT thru hike but quickly became my biggest cheerleader and was amazing by taking care of everything at home so I could go for my walk in the woods. I am writing this on September 1. Our plan is to continue to promote donations till the middle of October, then we will distribute our $10,000 to the various charities. Thanks again for reading and keep watching the Stories page for info on when I will be presenting a slide show of my trip. I hope to do 3 presentations in early October.


My name is Gary Parkinson – trail name AZ Cruiser. I left April 12th to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine (2,185.3 miles). I will be done hiking by the end of August. My wife Elizabeth (honorary trail name – Miss Arizona) will be holding things together at home and supporting me as needed. She will make the cross country trip a few times to visit as well.

As part of this hike we are raising money for charity. Our preference is to help kids and critters. Our goal is to raise over $10,000.00 for a variety of charities. At the end of the hike, my wife and I will match $10,000.00 with our own money, bringing the total for the deserving charities to over $20,000.00. (Note: As of 3/26/14 we have additional matching pledges of $3k, bringing the total matching funds to $13k)  Please share this information with anyone you feel may be interested.

Daily updates of this grand adventure will be available at trailjournals.com/AzCruiser/  so you will be able to follow my ups and downs (literally and figuratively) as I make my way north along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. This journal will include photos and heartfelt stories of what it is like to tackle a hike of this sort. This blog will be updated weekly, to subscribe click on the link in the right column.

To donate visit the charities tab above. All contributions will be made directly to the charity of your choice; we will not be handling any funds. Please follow along this summer and see how much money all of us working together can raise for great causes.

Benefiting Charities

Georgia-Tennessee-North Carolina MapWhere’s AZ Cruiser?
Date: August 16th, 2014
Location: Mt Katahdin, ME
Miles Hiked: 2185.3
Miles to Go: 0.0!!!
% Complete: 100.0% !!!
Days Hiked: 126

121 days hiking/5 days of rest

17.34 miles per day average




27 thoughts on “Home

  1. Elizabeth

    Colin Powell said it well: “Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up.”
    You are doing a wonderful service for others with this charity hike Gary!
    We will continually send you love and encouragement from home, throughout your journey!
    –Your wife & four-legged hiking companions, Oakley and Moose.

  2. Carol Howell

    Gary, you and your wife are truly a blessing. I have always felt that volunteering is such an important part of my life and have tried to instill that in our kids. Both Chuck and I love to volunteer and help others. We will follow your journey with enthusiasm since we have all hiked on the App. Trail ourselves. Happy Trails, be safe and can’t wait to see the pix…

  3. JACK



  4. Joyce Glass

    Hi Gary! I thought it was a long walk to the mail box!
    Be safe and thank you for your charitable efforts!
    Joyce, Don and Louie

  5. Scott Merrill

    Hey Gary!
    What you’re doing is awesome…I’m a tad envious! Here’s to you enjoying cool, dry, mosquito-less days and peaceful, relaxing, star-filled nights! More power to ya’….and keep on trucking!

  6. beth

    Hey Gary! Our son is a participant in Civitan. God bless you for your efforts. Our son was in a program based in North Carolina, and he spent 3 weeks on the Appalachian Trail. It was an awesome adventure, but a tough one! Be safe and well on your amazing journey Gary.

  7. sarah jaffe turnbull

    Hi Gary- We family of yours in the Hamptons are also proud of you and will follow your hike online. Enjoy and stay healthy! Love- Sarah

  8. Andrea & Frank Myers

    Gary, we’re having fun living through your trip…. good luck out there! love, Andrea & Frank Myers

  9. frank

    G Man!
    Happy anniversary Amigo! Sure proud of your progress, Croatia is amazing!!!

  10. Joel

    Gary keep up the good work! It’s nice to read your stories and hear about the progress you make. Sounds like your all having a blast. Have a great weekend my man.

  11. Giselle & Dave Fox

    We are so proud of you and your journey, Gary!! This is quite an achievement and what a gift you are giving to these charities! Go Gary!!!!
    All the best on your continued quest!
    Dave and Giselle Fox

  12. Mary Parkinson

    Gary – love seeing that smile on your face and hearing about all of your terrific adventures! Mare

  13. Linda Helms

    Hey AZ,
    Keep on Keepin’ On! We are eagerly awaiting your arrival in Vermont. Enjoy the trail and all it has to offer.
    Your mom’s friend Linda

  14. Miriam Kerr

    Gary – what you have undertaken is truly inspirational. Stay safe!

  15. Mike

    Gary, You’re in our thoughts and prayers and know you can accomplish whatever you desire.
    We started playing in the mornings to beat the heat and hope you will able to join us.
    God speed.

  16. Scott Merrill

    Way to go GARY….KEEP ON HIKING!!!!!

  17. Matt Evangelou

    Best of luck AZ! We were the local PA folks that shared the Allentown shelter with you on 6/21. Safe travels on your way to Maine!

  18. Katherine Stahl

    Go Gary! I think it is so amazing what you have already accomplished, and I am glad for you that more miles are behind you than are ahead of you! Great idea and really great job!
    Best, Katherine

  19. Deb Lusk

    Way to go, Gary! A dream come true and with a worthy purpose.

  20. Mary Parkinson

    Hi Gary, Wow, you are doing great! Before you know it you will be done! So glad it has been such an awesome adventure! You will never regret that you did it! Quite the feat! Mare

  21. Gary, thank you for bringing awareness and funding to these deserving charities!
    You are just days away from finishing the 2,185 mile Benefit Hike! We’re getting closer to the goal of raising $10,000 (over 6k in donations so far!!). I encourage anyone who gives to those in need each year anyway, to click on the Charities page at the top of this website (www.AZontheAT.com) and give to the non-profit of your choice. Just click on the non-profit’s logo and donate, easy : )
    Check with your tax consultant but I believe, If you live in AZ, your donation of $200 (single) $400 (married) can be 100% deducted from what you owe in state taxes!!
    Thank you to those that have already given and thank you in advance to those that are about to!!
    Gary, I wish you safe steps and smiles! Mt Katahdin awaits you!
    Love, Elizabeth : )

  22. Giselle Fox

    Dave, Chelsea and I are very proud of you not only for what you’re doing physically but why you’re doing it . It would haw been so easy to have given up by now, but you persevered! So many will be blessed because if it. We’re looking forward to hearing about the many adventures when you get back.

  23. Scott Merrill


    Way to go Gary, you’re almost there! Love that area littered with lakes…I think you’re just south of Moosehead?

    Keep on truckin’ AZ CRUISER!!!!!

  24. Elaine Waterman

    Mission accomplished!!! What an awesome journey – truly life changing for so many on so many levels. You are an inspiration!

  25. Scott Merrill


  26. Murphy

    Great job. Quite an undertaking. You finished just in time to get back for that great August weather in Phoenix. Maybe not….

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AZ on the AT

A Hike Benefitting Kids and Critters


A Hike Benefitting Kids and Critters

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A Hike Benefitting Kids and Critters


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