Man Hiking the AT with a Leafblower: Mascot Hikers and Why They Do It – The TrekApril 9, 2022
Every few years, a hiker will appear on the trail carrying an uncommon item. Often, these items come in the form of lightweight musical instruments: plastic trumpets, guitars, ukuleles, and harmonicas being most common. One year the Purple People, husband-and-wife musicians of the band The Mailboxes, carried a ukulele and a xylophone that they used to entertain hikers at every opportunity. Heck, I even met a hiker once on the way up Snowbird Mountain who was carrying a plastic trombone! Then there was the guy who reportedly carried a heavy, cast-iron Dutch oven, although I heard later reports he didn’t make it very far.
But what you don’t often see is someone who carries an odd item that doesn’t really serve any practical purpose.
This is the story of two of them: Leafblower and Champ.
Interview with Leafblower
The first time I heard of Leafblower was back in late February in Georgia, when Fresh Ground, the legendary trail angel who drives his white Ford van up and down the trail doing large roadside hiker feeds, featured his pic on his Instagram.
From the moment I saw this thin, youthful-looking blonde man, who goes by the trail name “Leafblower,” proudly holding up his bright green and black cordless electric leaf blower, I had wondered the same thing that everyone else was asking in the comments: WHY?
All that Fresh Ground (aka Tim Davis) would say on his post about him was a simple, cryptic answer: “He says he wants to get the leaf blower to Maine.” That’s it.
Not satisfied with that answer, I was determined to meet up with this guy who calls himself “Leaf Blower” to get to the bottom of the mystery.
The Mission: “I gotta get this leaf blower to Maine.”
Fortunately for me, when I reached out to the hiker known as Leaf Blower on his Instagram, leafblowersleafblower, he answered right away. He told me he was getting ready to enter the Smokies and that he would be …….