Unicoi native set to celebrate 500th hike up local fire tower

Published 11:46 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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STAFF Reports
Steve Wilson marked his 400th hike up the Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower Trail in late 2021, and he didn’t stop there. Steve started hiking as a way to replace an old habit of smoking.
This native of Unicoi County will celebrate his 500th hike milestone while leading a hike for the Appalachian Trail Vista that takes place Aug. 4-7 at various locations throughout the region.
“I’ve been all over that mountain, and I decided it was time to get in shape,” Steve said. “Once I turned 60 years old, I got rid of some bad habits and started replacing walking with those habits.
“You can either sit around in a chair and go straight to the graveyard, or take a detour,” he said. “You will slowly get in better shape if you continue to walk.”
Over the last eight years, Steve has tracked between six and seven million steps each year on a spreadsheet. “It’s just another day, just another hike,” he said.
The Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower Trail in Unicoi is a 9.9 mile out-and-back trail accessible from exit 32 in I-26. Steve advocates for exercise as a way to stay healthy and lose a little weight, stating it takes him around two hours to hike to the top of the fire tower trail.
The Appalachian Trail Vista is hosted by the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association and Visit Johnson City, in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The Vista has attracted participants from over 17 states to the mountains of Northeast Tennessee for a weekend of hikes, workshops, and excursions celebrating the outdoors. The event takes place in areas across the Appalachian Trail footprint every two years.

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