Man in wheelchair treks to top of McAfee Knob

Before the accident, Jared Fenstermacher’s goal was to hike the entire Appalachian Trail

Man reaches top of McAfee's Knob in a wheelchair
Man reaches top of McAfee's Knob in a wheelchair

CATAWBA, Va. – Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

That’s the motivation that got one man through one of the hardest hikes of his life. But with the help of a friend, he made his way up to the top of Mcafee Knob in a wheelchair.

Jared Fenstermacher is from Reading, Pennsylvania. He was hit by a truck in 2016 while cycling across the country and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him in a wheelchair.

Before the accident, his goal was to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. He had even hiked a third of the entire route.

This year, he decided to pick up where he left off. He called his friend John DeLong, who lives in Blacksburg, and asked for help getting up the trail.

Thanks to DeLong, Fenstermacher’s dog, and a special off-road wheelchair, the three were able to make it to the peak of McAfee Knob on Saturday.

They want this feat to serve as a lesson for others.

“If you want something bad enough, you just got to, you know, go and do it,” said Fenstermacher.

“Life is a challenge and I want them to be willing to accept that challenge and move forward past things they think they can’t accomplish,” said DeLong.

Fenstermacher’s next mission is to hike up the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in June.


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