REI Trail Angel

Paul Stiffler “Trail Angel”

Paul Stiffler sets an example to all of us. As with so many others in the region, he is a truly altruistic person. Known as Ponytail Paul and living in Maine, the 50-year old is known as a “trail angel” on the 2,186-mile long Appalachian Trail.  The first person to walk the entire Appalachian Trail was Early Schaffer in 1948. Since then between 1000 – 2000 people, a year, take on this enormous challenge, one that will take 5 million steps before it’s over. Only about 10 – 25% of people complete the whole hike.

Ponytail Paul is there, if not in presence, but he’s there to lend a helping hand like hanging provisions from trees for hikers to help themselves to. He’s fun and inspiring, helpful and kind and has assumed the role of turning “zero days” for hikers, those days where you really really don’t want to take another step, into special days for them, memorable ones instead, giving them something else to think about rather than the long walk ahead. A true country man, he loves the peace and tranquillity of the woods as they helped him through a particularly difficult patch in his life and he wants others to be able to reach a similar peace of mind through the natural wonders of the Appalachian Trail.

Paul Stiffler

Appalachian Trail


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