Many people who have hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, including no doubt at least a few Iowa residents, have said the experience changed their lives.
Stretching nearly 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia, the AT is quite a challenge, both physically and mentally. This month the trail officially is 75 years old.
Opened Aug. 14, 1937, the trail was seen as a way for people to get out in the woods and benefit from being close to the natural world.
Whether spending just a few hours on the trail or making it the dominant fact of life for months at a time, many AT hikers find the footpath a welcome respite from life in more urban settings. They go back and often spread the word about what lies just yards from many highways throughout the eastern United States.
And so, the trail has changed countless lives in ways small and large.
Happy birthday, AT!