ATS alum walks 18,000 miles, connecting every place he has ever lived
In 2010 CSU atmospheric science alumnus Pete Wetzel set out to hike home – to all two dozen places he’d ever called home in his 60-plus years. Nine years and more than 18,000 miles later, he concluded his journey in Fort Collins, where he earned his Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University in 1978. His advisor, Professor Emeritus William Cotton, joined him Oct. 26 for part of the final leg of his adventure. Together they walked the Poudre Trail from the Kodak Trailhead south of Windsor to the Poudre Learning Center west of Greeley.
Due to budget cuts, Wetzel took an early retirement buyout offer from NASA in 2005, where he was a research atmospheric scientist. In 2010 he acquired his first personal GPS tracker, and he has not stopped logging miles since. He has the recorded GPS tracks to prove it, ever updating an online map of his travels.
In 2012 Wetzel hiked the Appalachian Trail – twice, once in each direction, making him one of a select few who have done the “double” in a calendar year, and the oldest of those by more than a decade, he calculates. Wetzel found his “happy place” hiking long distances through territory new to him, especially on footpaths in the woods. But he felt he needed a goal to sustain and justify further long-distance hiking.
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