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Duo traveling Pacific Coast Trail have chance meeting in Ironwood

 

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

BIKER CHARLIE Bradley and hiker Gail Lowe pose for a photo outside the Depot in downtown Ironwood Monday afternoon. Bradley is biking across the 48 continental U.S. and Lowe is the first woman hiking the North Country Trail from Vermont to Ohio in memory of her late daughter who passed away in May 2013. Bradley and Lowe met in Ironwood coincidentally and began discussing their trips.

IRONWOOD - He's biking across the 48 continental U.S. states. She is hiking the North Country Trail, stretching from New York to North Dakota.

What do they have in common? They both spent Monday afternoon in Ironwood.

Gail Lowe and Charlie Bradley met at the Depot in downtown Ironwood and after a few minutes of discussion, found they had a bit more in common, despite different challenges and goals.

Both Lowe and Bradley have been on the Pacific Coast Trail, stretching from the California/Mexico border, through Oregon to the Washington/Canada border. During their meeting in Ironwood, they discussed the trail, and how their current adventures are going, including the challenges of mosquitos and weather.

Despite different end results and different reasons, both Bradley and Lowe will travel thousands of miles using their feet or pedals to get them where they need to go.

Hiking for history

Lowe began hiking 23 years ago, and has traveled more than 12,000 miles in her lifetime. But this trip has a historic connotation, both for her and her late daughter.

Her daughter Rebecca Lyons passed away from breast cancer last May. According to Lowe, her daughter's biggest fear was she would be forgotten.

"I'm hiking in her memory, so if I go down in history, then so will she," Lowe said.

She called her trip, "Becka's Hike," and if Lowe completes the 4,600 mile journey, she will be the first woman to do the entire North Country Trail in one hiking season.

What prompted her to do the challenge was her desire to complete it.

"I don't want to do part of a trail, I want to do it all," Lowe said.

She started in Ohio earlier this year, because it was the southern-most location along the trail. Once Lowe makes it to North Dakota, she will fly to New York and hike her way back to Ohio.

"I'll be out here when the snow flies," Lowe said. " ... Hope to finish by December."

Throughout her trip, Lowe highlights her location and sites she views on her Facebook page and YouTube channel, allowing people to track her progress and offer suggestions of things she should view or do.

According to Lowe, she doesn't hike at night, and on a "good day" can travel between 30 and 35 miles. Even on a "bad day," she is still able to hike around 20 miles.

In addition to the weather and mosquitos proving to be challenging, Lowe said the trail is not complete, so she has to "find my own way."

"I won't quit," Lowe said. "Nothing can stop me."

Biking across the U.S.

For Bradley, his trip will take him 21,600 miles, across 48 states. It may seem daunting, but over the last 14 years, he has biked 155,000 miles in 103 countries.

So far on his trip, he has biked 362 days, and has 10 states to go, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington.

"My goal is to be finished in early September or late August," Bradley said.

Bradley grew up in England, and has found the biking in the U.S. to be "fantastic."

"The hospitality has been epic," Bradley said.

Unlike Lowe, Bradley doesn't have any technology with him, except a radio to listen to "Katy Perry's latest hits and a bit of sport."

As he continues his trip, Bradley said he hopes the weather will cooperate, and said he has had "enough rainy weather and mosquitos."

When he and Lowe met at the Depot in Ironwood, they found themselves asking about how much weight they carry with them, where they've been so far and two topics Bradley said are always discussed.

"It never fails. Two things that are always talked about are food and feet," Bradley said.

For more information on "Becka's Hike," visit youtube.com/user/NatureNymphLLC or facebook.com/bikerhiker.