This spring, while her classmates went to prom and ordered graduation robes, Mary Bradley loaded a backpack with a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, hammock, dried fruit, meat and nuts, toilet paper, a water filter and a change of clothes.
Bradley didn’t walk at graduation with her Franklin Community High School class Friday. She had arranged her final years of high school to allow for another walk: the nearly 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
Walking the trail started out as a joke. When she first learned about it, she wondered why anyone would want to walk that far. But over time, the joke became “we should do that someday.” And eventually, the joke became a goal, Bradley said.