From the Los Angeles Times, an article about the legendary Pacific Crest Trail hiker - "Billy Goat."
"George is the name my mother gave me," he said.
Billy Goat has hiked more than 32,000 miles -- which would have taken him around the world and a third of the way again. He has walked across the South and the Southwest, the Northeast and the West. He has crossed the Rocky Mountains on four occasions, twice in each direction. He has conquered the so-called triple crown of American hiking -- the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails -- multiple times.
He has a wife, his third, and a home in Nevada. That is where George, the 69-year-old retired railroad worker, would live if Billy Goat cared to be George. Billy Goat lives more than 10 months of the year outdoors, drinking unfiltered water from streams, eating vacuum-sealed meals he prepares himself, sleeping under the stars without a tent. He carries what he needs in a backpack weighing less than 10 pounds.
"I'm not on vacation. I'm not out for a weekend," he said, settling in for the night under a fire-scarred tree next to a gurgling creek and surrounded by the rugged granite outcroppings of the Dome Land Wilderness. "This is where I live. When you do that, all the other trappings of life fade away."
For six months of the year, Billy Goat's home is the Pacific Crest Trail, the 2,650-mile uber-trail of the West that stretches from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.
He is a legend in the small but growing fraternity of ultra-long-distance backpackers, renowned for his stamina and trail knowledge and envied for a single-minded devotion to living outdoors. First-timers on the PCT inevitably hear about Billy Goat. They spy his signature entry in trail-head logs -- a red-ink stamp of a goat. Chance encounters are described in awed tones in Internet journals.
I met the most extraordinary man just two days ago. . . .
"He's the heart and soul of the PCT," said Monte Dodge, 50, who hiked the length of the trail when he was 19 and does a portion of it nearly every year. "It's his wisdom, his longevity -- the whole package. He's a modern-day John Muir."
The resemblance goes beyond the hawkish nose, determined eyes and gray beard that Billy Goat hasn't tended in 13 years. Muir spent months at a time wandering the Sierra alone, carrying little more than a blanket, bread and tea as he developed his philosophy of the restorative power of nature on the human spirit.
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home," Muir wrote. On another occasion he observed: "Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts."