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She didn't break a record, but still hiked 2,200 miles along the Appalachian Trail in her 70s

It was a bucket list item for 77-year-old Pamela Clark.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — There will be a celebration this weekend for Pinellas County's own Pamela Clark, a 77-years-young woman that just completed her through-hike of the Appalachian Trail. 

That's nearly 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine. It's a feat that few people accomplish, much less at 77 years old. 

For Pamela, it was a bucket list item. She finally got to check it off 16 months after the day she started. "I just wanted to get there. It had started to rain and it was windy." 

Her journey actually began in November of 2021, when she went to Bill Jackson's Outdoor Store in Pinellas Park and told them she was going to hike the trail.  They spent months getting her geared up and ready to go. 

She hit the trail on her 76th birthday, March 30, 2022, thus earning her the trail name "Birthday Girl." 

But it wasn't easy. She had to come off the trail in October to have an injury treated, then went back in January, in the dead of winter. 

"I didn't notice. I didn't notice it was cold, I didn't notice it was deep, I just didn't notice," Clark said.

Until one day in early March. It was -9 degrees that morning and snowing. 

"The snow was up to my waist. There was 54 inches coming and I wasn't tall enough to go on so... I stopped," she said.   

But with only 260 miles left to complete the through-hike, she went back to the trail at the end of May with friends, new and old, by her side. 

"It was just dazzling the amount of people that would come on a daily basis. Some of them multiple times. It was real trail magic of sharing themselves, sharing their homes, sharing their dinners," Clark said.

And at 4:30 p.m. on July 12, it was done!

"I was getting tired so it was just like 'Oh thank goodness I can sit down.'" Her advice for others thinking of hiking the entire trail, "You might want to know what you're getting into a little bit more than I did."

Now that Pam is home, she's saving money for her next big adventure. "I do want to go to Antarctica and South America... as a tourist... not as a hiker!"

There is a celebration for Pam on Sunday at Bill Jackson's. It starts at 2 p.m. She'll be doing a Q&A at 2:30. It will also be on Facebook live if you can't make it.

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