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Westchester Resident Hikes Appalachian Trail

Eddie Paniccia after completing the Appalachian Trail in Maine. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Eddie Paniccia
One of the many views Eddie Paniccia had on his Appalachian Trail hike. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Eddie Paniccia

ARMONK, N.Y. -- Eddie Paniccia's feet are still sore from the hike of a lifetime.

The Armonk resident recently spent the last four months hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. Paniccia was inspired by the Bill Bryson book, "A Walk in the Woods," which was recently turned into a movie.

Paniccia, who used to run cross country, said he always wanted to take a backpacking trip but never had the chance. The first night of the trip provided Paniccia with a rude awakening.

"There were eight inches of snow in Georgia," Paniccia said. "It was a big shock. Coming from New York, we thought it would be warm in Georgia. Me and my friend knew we were in it for the long haul. This isn't going to be what we thought it was going to be."

Walking 18 to 25 miles a day was often grueling and one day, Paniccia walked 68 miles. 

"My feet are still hurting," Paniccia said. "I have to wake up and learn how to walk again on hard surfaces. I wear sandals in the house."

Hiking the trail allowed Paniccia to see some amazing sights like Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire, the Smoky Mountains, McAfee Knob in Virginia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, the final stop on the mountain. 

"A lot of people do this," Paniccia said. "We kept telling ourselves that if today was bad, tomorrow was going to be better. We were all in it for the same goal, we all want to reach the end."

Paniccia said his most emotional moment was when he walked over the Bear Mountain Bridge.

"In a way it felt like I was hiking home," Paniccia said. "I spent a couple of nights at home and got a warm meal and hot shower."

Finishing the trail was a bittersweet experience, Paniccia said.

"You can't wait to be done, but when you get there, you think 'what's next?'" Paniccia said. "Once we were walking down the mountain and touched the sign, we were all sad."

Paniccia said he would encourage anyone who thought about hiking the trail to do it.

"It was the trip of a lifetime," Paniccia said. 

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