A lot of high school graduates look at college as the next natural step as they are moving on with their adult lives. For many, this is the right step, they know what they want to do, and they are working hard to accomplish their goals. For others, college, or technical schooling, may not be the right fit, or not the right fit right after graduating high school.

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That was the case with Karson Madole, he attended his first year of college, and did not feel like it was a great fit at the time, so he decided on a gap year, taking a year off, to discover what he was really interested in. Last Friday, March 6th, we had Karson Madole on our Talk of the Town program, to talk about his upcoming trip to hike the Appalachian Trail. This is a bucket list item for him, and if not now, then when?

Karson shared his story about not feeling like college was right for him at the time, and that he became very interested in thru-hiking after reading a book for a high school assignment. He fully admits that he was not looking forward to the assignment, because he did not like reading. However, the book he chose piqued his interest and got him to read the whole thing. While away at college for his freshman year, he felt like he did not want to keep going with school, because he did not know what he wanted to do, and he did not want to rack up all sorts of debt in the process.

After much research, as well as talking to his parents, the decision was made to to do Appalachian Trail. While he is an adult, he is a young adult (20), and still looks to his parents for guidance and support.

The Appalachian Trail is not a an easy hike, it's 2,193 miles. Karson will be starting in Georgia, and he will be going through 14 states, ending in Maine. The average trek lasts about 6 months, that's a lot of time to be living out of your pack, with the occasional foray into a town for a hotel stay, complete with restaurant meals and stocking up on supplies. He said the average cost to do this trek, which can include the gear, is about $5,000. That's a higher cost, but, he broke it down and said that's about what his living expenses would be for 6 months, so, he saved up, a lot.

In addition to marking this item off of Madole's "bucket list" he is also raising money for The Marketplace, formerly known as the Steele County Food Shelf. He said that Dr. Monson is assisting with this part of the venture, including collecting the monies raised, as well as the pledges made. A lot of donors are pledging money for each mile completed, so, if you pledged $.10/mile, the total after he completes the trek will be $219.30. If enough people pledge like that, The Marketplace could get quite the sizable donation.

You can follow Karson's journey as he is able to update his personal blog, on thetrek.com. He will also be sharing his journey on his Instagram, you can follow him @KarsonMadole. He leaves tomorrow, March 10th, for Georgia, where he will start on his trek. Best of luck to you Karson, we are looking forward to getting your updates.

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