On Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, Bart Smith ended his 17 year journey of approximately 16,500 miles hiking all 11 of the National Scenic Trails in the United States. His accomplishment stands unique: he apparently is the only person ever to start and complete this feat.
A Lakewood resident, Smith is not only an energetic camper but a highly talented nature photographer and he has combined his two loves – hiking the scenic trails and photography – to produce coffee table publications and outstanding photo exhibits.
On March 23, Smith will share his hiking and photography experiences in a lecture sponsored by the Lakewood Historical Society. It will be held at the Lakewood Library, 6300 Wildaire Road SW, Lakewood, starting at 7 pm. The program is open to the public and there is no charge to attend.
A story in the Oct 2, 2009, issue of The Seattle Times, read, in part:
Steve Elkinton, program leader of the National Park Service’s National Trails System, said that although a claim for hiking every mile of the scenic trails has to be “taken at faith,” he also believes that Smith’s claim “is legit.” And, he adds, the distance Smith hiked was probably more like 17,500 miles because of difficulties measuring the trails.
Meeting Smith at the end of his quest was his wife, Bridgie Smith, a critical care nurse, who often drives her husband to the beginning of a trail, and then picks him up one or two or three weeks later, hundreds of miles away.
As always, Bridgie was very enthusiastic about her husband’s endeavor. “You gotta live passionately. There is no way I could be married to a guy who’d just go to a job at Microsoft and then come home,” she said.
How Bart Smith developed his passion for hiking goes back to his childhood, he said. His father, Dr. David W. Smith, was a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington who had a passion for the outdoors. The dad would take his four sons on wilderness hikes.
During his Lakewood Historical Society program, Smith will explain his passions as well as show many photos from the adventures. You can view a gallery of his photos and learn about his adventures by clicking on the following website: www.walkingdownadream.com/