Jordan Price can hardly believe that the weather forecast in North Carolina is calling for snow. It's April 11, the temperature is 80 degrees, and Price and hiking partner Carlie Roberts are taking a rest in a field along the Appalachian Trail, under blue skies that will soon turn gray. The pair is hiking for Stamford,Conn.-based Keep America Beautiful's (KAB) Trek Against Trash project, which will take them on a six-month journey along the trail to promote environmental consciousness, waste reduction and recycling.
In 2007, Price was working for a marketing firm and traveling on the Coors Light Silver Bullet Train as part of a promotional tour. It was on that tour that he met Roberts and the two witnessed the significant environmental impact the tour was having. They decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, something Price had always wanted to do, as a way to make amends.
“We knew that if we wanted to take on something this big, we wanted to do it for a great reason,” Roberts says. “We didn't just want to do it for bragging rights. We wanted to make a difference.”
Price continues: “This is a good way to leave no footprint, or as little footprint as possible for six months.”
Seeking to align themselves with a great cause, the pair eventually settled upon KAB, an organization that promotes environmental awareness to young people. “It's really hard for us to sit back and watch our generation not really take into account the impact that they're making,” Roberts says. “It was really important for me to be able … to get out there [and promote this message to a] group that really [needs to] realize what's going on.”
On March 17, the pair threw on their backpacks and began their 2,174-mile hike, which will take them from Georgia to Maine. Along the way, Price and Roberts spread their message to other hikers, especially those who litter. The trip includes stops at pre-planned community clean-up events organized by KAB. Recently, in Gatlinburg, Tenn., they filled an entire garbage bag with trash found along a half-mile stretch of Interstate 40, which runs near the trail. “It's unbelievable,” Price says of the amount of trash that people casually toss from their vehicles.
Price and Roberts, echoing an old refrain, encourage the people they meet to think globally and act locally. “We don't want everybody to have to come out here and live like we're living,” Roberts says. “We just want people to take responsibility for the lives they choose to live.”
For this cause, the pair will continue their hike — through good weather and bad. As for the blanket of snow that did arrive on April 14, Price and Roberts, via their blog, took it in stride: “At least it wasn't rain!”
To read Price and Roberts' blog, make a donation, or for more information on the Trek for Trash project, visit www.trekagainsttrash.org.