Ed Talone of Portsmouth, Ohio, has hiked more than 60,000 miles of trails in the U.S. and Canada in the course of a long hiking career, and Tuesday he passed through Perry along the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
“Perry, Des Moines and Xenia, Ohio, have the best trail systems in the country,” he said.
He should know. Talone, 63, estimates he has hiked some 800 trails over 40 years in all parts of the U.S. and Canada.
“It wasn’t a continuous 40 years,” he said, “but done in between careers. I spent most of the ’90s hiking.”
He has hit the nation’s most scenic paths, through-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, the John Muir Trail and many other. He said his longest hike was the 4,600-mile North Country Trail, stretching from Vermont to central North Dakota.
Talone’s most memorable hike was along the International Appalachian Trail, a journey he shared with Julie King in 2013, he said. He carries a big backpack but is not overburdened with high technology.
“I don’t use GPS but this instead,” Talone said, pointing to a 20-year-old atlas in his 40-year-old backpack.
He said he no longer does as much snow camping these days, and this season is drawing to a close.
“Nights lately have been about as cold as I like anymore,” he said, checking the sun and striking out southward along the bod of the old Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad.