Saturday, June 27, 2009

Take a Hike

Maybe he should have been on a hike after all. When Mark Sanford, 49, the conservative Republican South Carolina governor, ditched his security detail this month, turned off his cell phone, and told his staff he was going to hike the legendary Appalachian Trail, he said he wanted to clear his head. Maybe do some writing after a stressful three months.

Blogs and comics had a field day even before he admitted to the real reason for his absence. Rather than commune with nature, he flew south for an extramarital affair with a “friend” in Argentina. But cry not. Outdoor industry executives – the people who make packs, boots, and trekking poles – rejoiced. The big winner in the Sanford affair is the trail itself, which received enormous publicity nationwide, including route maps published in major media and stories mentioning the trail on the evening news. In fact, at one point this week, there were 1.1 million Google hits for “Appalachian Trail Sanford.”

“Just the mere suggestion that highly stressed politicians can seek solace by hiking the Appalachian Trail plants a positive image in the minds of outdoor enthusiasts everywhere,” said Greg Wozer, vice president of LEKI USA, makers of trekking poles. “While we haven’t noticed a run on our trail equipment, this kind of exposure in newspapers, magazines and on radio and television reaching by millions certainly doesn’t hurt.”

Wozer continues, “I am sorry for the pain caused to his family and the good folks of South Carolina, but am certainly glad he didn’t decide to go lie on a beach somewhere.”


  1. I am afraid that "hiking the Appalachian Trail" now has a new meaning. Actually there are 11 national scenic trails and each of them would benefit even the most wayward of love-besotted Republicans.

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