When my partner and I were planning an extended A.T. hike, we stopped by our local outdoor shop and asked the manager what to bring. “Foremost thing you’ll need is this,” he said, reaching for a plain green book which otherwise looked a lot like a high-end car manual: David ‘AWOL’ Miller’s The A.T. Guide.“This guy, David ‘AWOL’ Miller practically lives on the trail.”Who was this AWOL? And how did the little green manual come to be?Back in the late-90s, working as a high-powered software engineer, Miller got turned on to the notion of an A.T. thru-hike via a newly retired, Katahdin-conquering ex-coworker. Miller soon viewed the 2,181-mile adventure as a potentially kickass springboard into his own retirement. But being married, a proud father of three, and not quite 40 years of age, Miller couldn’t conceive of himself as being capable of responsibly hanging up the corporate boots for at least another two decades.However, despite the pragmatic rationale—must clock the time, take max. advantage of IRA + 401k plans, continue gratingly, monotonously grinding along toward reaping the so-called Golden Years bounty—the A.T. had already infiltrated his system. Miller found himself facing an inconvenient truth: “I remember becoming increasingly aware this thru-hike was something that couldn’t wait. My life had grown precariously normal… It had to be done now.”In the spring of 2001, having procured a greenlight from the familial quintet, Miller quit his nine-to-five and lit out for Springer Mountain, the A.T.’s southern terminus.“My wife was actually happy for me to have the break from my job,” chuckled Miller. She and the kids set out to have a memorable summer of their own—beach trips, camping, and visiting relatives. I missed them, but they were aware I was doing something important I had to do for myself, and that was something they wanted to support.” He quickly earned his trail name AWOL after telling his life story to fellow thru-hikers of quitting his job and setting out for the woods. After he completed his thru-hike, he penned a memoir: AWOL On the Trail.A few years later, in 2007, Miller heard Dan “Wingfoot” Bruce was retiring from the business of maintaining his yearly-updated Thru-Hikers’ Handbook. As a software engineer, Miller realized he could present the trail data in a fresh, new way that was both functional and aesthetic.“For the next year, I spent every spare moment available working on the book, to the point of enlisting my wife and kids,” he said. His efforts yielded the most intricate, detailed, and stunningly resourceful trail guide yet produced.The popularity of The A.T. Guide is not surprising. Every year, Miller or a member of his team personally hikes each section and travels to each town to ensure the information is 100 percent accurate and updated.Miller himself isn’t planning another thru-hike anytime soon. “But if one of my kids wanted to do it and wouldn’t mind having me along, I’d definitely go with them.”
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – Veterans Merissa Aguilleira and Anisa Mohammed have been axed for West Indies women’s tour of Ireland and England next month.Neither was included in the 14-member squad announced by Cricket West Indies (CWI) yesterday, which will be led by regular captain Stafanie Taylor.The Trinidadian pair have been perennial fixtures in the regional side having both played over 100 One-Day Internationals but have found their playing opportunities reduced in recent series, with the emergence of younger players.Further, their form in the recent West Indies women’s Championship did little to enhance their claims, and newly-installed interim chairman of selectors, Robert Haynes, said this had also weighed against them.“Anisa Mohammed and Merissa Aguilleira’s performances in the recent women’s championships weren’t what we expected or how we wanted them to perform, so unfortunately they were not picked on this touring squad,” Haynes said.“There are other ladies who are vying for these coveted spots. We have three other wicketkeepers who have all been scoring consistently thereby outperforming Merissa.”He continued: “In terms of Anisa, we have Hayley who’s back and the captain Stafanie who can both bowl off-spin and have been performing consistently well. So overall we have a very unique and balanced team which reflects what we saw in Guyana during the Women’s Championships.”Aguilleira, 33, is a former captain, but failed to get a single game during last November’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean. However, she subsequently led the T20 side on the tour of Pakistan earlier this year when Taylor opted out, managing 20 runs from two innings.In the recent domestic 50-overs competition, Aguilleira could muster only 54 runs from five innings for Trinidad and Tobago, and a further 40 runs from three outings in the T20 phase.The 30-year-old Mohammed, who has also played over 100 matches in the shortest format, claimed nine wickets from five matches in the 50-overs competition and five from as many games in the T20 format.In acknowledging the pair’s contribution, Haynes said their omission was not the end of their careers.“Merissa and Anisa have given a lot to West Indies Cricket and I’m sure based on improved performances we can see them back in the West Indies Women’s team in future series.”Selectors have, meanwhile, recalled experienced batsman Stacy-Ann King following a three-year absence. The Trinidadian last turned out for West Indies on England’s tour of the Caribbean in 2016 but scored consistently in the domestic tournament to force herself back into contention.She averaged 40 in the one-dayers and 45 in T20s and Haynes said he expected her experience and all-round ability to be crucial on the upcoming tour.“Stacy Ann King’s return to the West Indies Women’s team to tour Ireland and England is no real surprise after her performance during the recently concluded Colonial Medical Insurance Women’s Super50 Cup and CWI’s T20 Blaze tournaments,” he explained.“Her experience is very vital in this very crucial series against England, a series that we must win, so her ability to bowl good left arm swing will be an added dimension to our bowling attack.”Opener and vice-captain Hayley Matthews has also returned after missing the recent Pakistan series through injury.West Indies women will take on Ireland in a three-match Twenty20 series May 26-29 before clashing with England in a tour comprising three One-Day Internationals and three T20s, June 6-25.The squad will gather for a training camp here from May 6 to 20 before departing the Caribbean on May 21.SQUAD – Stafanie Taylor (captain), Hayley Matthews (vice-captain), Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Karishma Ramharack, Chedean Nation, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Shakera Selman, Shamilia Connell, Shemaine Campbelle, Natasha McLean, Stacy Ann King.
MASON CITY — A district judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the superintendent, the current human resources director and the school board president of the Mason City Community School District, but a former employee’s claims of discrimination and retaliation against the entire school district will move forward.Former human resources director Jodie Anderson filed the lawsuit last July against the school district, superintendent Dave Versteeg, board president Jodi Draper and human resources director Tom Drzycimski. Anderson, who served the school district between July 2015 and when she resigned in June 2017, claims she complained about the school district paying male employees more than female employees, and that there was retaliation against her.Anderson asked to have Drzycimski removed from the lawsuit last September, and now District Judge DeDra Schroeder has ruled that Versteeg and Draper are dismissed as defendants in the lawsuit. Schroeder in her ruling says that Versteeg was not hired by the district until a month after Anderson’s resignation, and Draper as an individual member of the school board cannot be held liable for the actions of the school board as a whole.A trial date for Anderson’s lawsuit against the school district has not been set.