In the late spring of 2000, Lucy and Susan Letcher summitted Maine’s Mt. Ktaadin and then began a southward trek along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Adopting the trail names “Isis” and “jackrabbit,” they hiked through the summer, fall, and winter, reaching Georgia’s Mt. Springer the next spring, and then turned around and hiked back to Ktaadin, completing what’s called a “yo-yo” (a double-traverse of the AT). Their story is chronicled in a two-volume book set entitled “Southbound” and “Walking Home,” which I recently read and enjoyed immensely.
What was somewhat different about their experience, and the reason of course they’re called “the barefoot sisters,” is that they completed most of the hike without shoes, and this gives their story an extra dimension from other AT narratives. Barefoot hiking is a relatively unusual activity, although it’s not completely unheard of: noticing their lack of footwear a Baxter State Park ranger commented, “There are a few that do that. I don’t know how. Well, if it works for you, more power to you.”