About Us

We are Melissa and Mike.  Mike is Melissa’s dad.  Melissa is Mike’s daughter.  Though both fans of the show, we should not be confused with Mel and Mike, the father/son duo from the 14th season of The Amazing Race.  Mike’s hair isn’t really so gray as it looks in this picture.  It’s the bright sun.  Melissa’s hair maybe isn’t really so red as this.  It might come from a box.

Mike recently “involuntarily retired” from a large company when his job was eliminated in a downsizing. “Hey!  Now’s the time to thruhike the AT!” he thought immediately.  Well, it wasn’t QUITE the time.  Since it was late August, Mike realized he’d have to wait until March to start the hike.  Mike called around, looking for folks who might spend a long while hiking with him.  It’s not easy coming up with such a block of time for a venture like this.  Mike’s good friend and favorite hiking partner Bob (an avid hike leader and world traveler from England, who is also retired) couldn’t come along due to other commitments.  Mike thought of his son, Phil, and daughter Melissa.  Phil is finishing up a Master’s degree and the timing’s not right for him to join in for the whole hike.  Mike called Melissa, thinking that she might be only able to commit for a couple of weeks.  Melissa thought that if she scrimped, saved and ensured her fiancé that she would remain responsible for her portion of the rent, then she just might be able to do the whole thing.  After all, she figured, this kind of adventure opportunity doesn’t come knocking every day.

Mike might not shave during this hike.  He’s never grown a full beard before. He hopes when he gets home that his wife will recognize him and let him in the door.  He’ll at least be sure to take a shower first.

Melissa is a freelance photographer in NYC.  She has competed in 8 triathlons and various running races.  She thinks she’s fit enough for the task.  Her wedding will be in October, so Melissa and Mike will have to hike fast.

More about Mike:  Until Melissa and Mike start their hike in early March, Mike will keep tutoring at Literacy Volunteers, where he’s teaching a small Adult Basic Math class and working on planning LV’s first Workshop for Math Tutors.  Mike is also voluntarily helping with the Friday Math Lab at BOCES.  Most of the Math Lab students are preparing for GED tests.  Continuing through the hike, he’ll also keep his spot as Vice-Chair of the MG Car Club Western New York Centre.

41 Responses to About Us

  1. Susan says:

    Looking forward to the updates!

  2. Gordon says:

    Godspeed Mel and Mike!
    (Which I believe is 2.5 MPH:)

  3. Megs says:

    Mike it was great to see you for dinner-I will be following your adventure with a mixture of admiration and jealousy. This is a really cool thing you guys are doing! Of course, I’ve always known you were a cool guy :>

    • Mike says:

      Dinner was tremendous, Susan and I loved it – I didn’t know you had it in you. You have so many other talents; who knew you could cook too?! Meet us on the trail somewhere – you can cook for Melissa and me anytime. : ) Yum

  4. Don Paulson says:

    Mike and Melissa,

    Hope you have a great time and we will be following you on your web site.


  5. Julie, Martin, Emma, Briony & CoCo says:

    We are so excited to follow your progress – with all the prep and planning its an achievement to just make the first step of such an epic journey – kudos for starting and all our support for reaching your goal – Go Mel & Mike! Bestest, Jules, Martin & the Gang

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for the well wishes! It really is down to the wire now. It’s nice to know I’ve got such a fan base back in New York. It’ll really help me get up those hills.
      And thanks again for lunch last weekend. It was such a lovely day, we’ll have to do it again when I return!
      xo – Mel

  6. Mark Goodwin says:

    Wisconsin will be watching you two. Have a safe journey. Ginny and I love you both!!

  7. Susan S says:

    NC is with you too! All of us here will be following you and J will too when he can!

  8. Deborah Farmar says:

    I’m thinking of you – and Ban deodorant, instant Starbucks and Cadbury bars. Gotta get to the store! Love you both and sleep tight. Don’t let the trail bugs bite.

  9. Ed H says:

    Mel and Mike…it was great meeting you both, though briefly, Saturday night (3/19) as my group made camp during our section hike. It was my first time on the AT so talking with thruHikers like you, High Five (who gave me my trail name), EnZed and Forest Gimp provided a better appreciation for what this whole endeavor is about. Thanks for directing me to your blog site. I will definitely check back for updates. Happy Hiking, Buttboy. 🙂

  10. Roberta O'Donnell says:

    Hey Mike and Melissa: Great write up. Looking forward to following your adventure. What a wonderful father/daughter thing to do before walking Mel down the aisle. Good luck, safe travels, and enjoy the scenery. RMO

  11. Donld Grinnell says:

    Keith Handel gave me your web site after telling me about running into you in DC. Sorry to hear about your Father-in-law.
    Glad to see that you and Mel have gotten a good start on the AT.
    Brian didn’t get your phone message in time to get a hold of you before you were heading back to the AT.
    Have a safe journey one step at a time.

  12. Tammy says:

    Are we there yet?

    • Mel says:

      “There” is a relative thing. We’re HERE and glad we’re not THERE (if you know what I mean).

    • Mike says:

      Tammy – just to let you know, the original reply to your question was actually posted by me from Melissa’s iPhone. It shows up as being from her. Now, an updated reply: “Just sit down in the back seat! We won’t be to Grandma’s house until mid- to late-August!”

      How’s the ankle – had your surgery yet?

  13. Mike and Mel,
    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your adventure, my father sent me your link and can’t even describe the memories you have brought back for me. If you have made it this far there is no doubt that you can make it all the way! Just remember to take the time to enjoy every minute because as long of a trail as it is the minute( ok I’m be honest about 3 months later) you get off the trail all you will want to do is figure out a way to get back on it. I’m sorry I missed your call as I would love to hear all the stories. Best of luck and as always hike your own hike!
    Brian “Bushman” Grinnell

  14. Timbo says:

    Mel and Mike,

    Congratulations on progress. I thru hiked in ’92 and look forward to your posts.

    • Mike says:

      Thanks, Timbo! Congratulations on YOUR thru-hike, and we’re glad you’re following us. We reached Damascus yesterday afternoon, and we’ll be hiking out this evening. Miles to go!

  15. kelsey Gibson says:

    Excited to follow you guys! Definitely a wonderful day for some crazy Washington Nationals promoters to meet such cool people. Good luck with the journey and congratulations on the upcoming wedding Click! I hope the trip is as rewarding as I think it will be. Very inspiring!

  16. Ian says:

    Hi Mike

    I’ve just been checking your progress, that’s quite an adventure you’ve taken on. I’m impressed and will keep following your pictures.

    Ian (MGCC England)

    • Mike says:

      Thanks for letting us know you’re following us! We are in a town today and we were going to post more pictures, but the hotel’s computer is too slow, so we’ll be posting more late this week. Cheers to you and Paula!

  17. Bonnie Thieleman says:

    Hi Mike and Mel!
    Thanks for sharing your blog site with me! Glad that I could let my fingers ‘do the walking’ for you, this afternoon – I hope you connect with your friend. What a wonderful adventure you’re both on! I’ve always thought it important to keep moving forward and to not look back but, maybe, in your case…it might not be such a bad idea! Watch out for things that go ‘grrrrr’ in the night! I’ll join the rest and follow along… 🙂 Wheeeeeeeeeeeee

  18. Tim Fortier says:

    HELLO Mel and Mike,

    Enjoyed meeting you (your waiter at Salt Hill Pub) and loved reading your blog and seeing the fabulous pictures of your journey. Enjoy the spectacular beauty of a our White Mts. ( a bit biased but it REALLY is one of the most incredible places i have been) and Godspeed to the end..all my best 🙂 Tim

    • Mike says:

      Glad you like the blog, Tim. We enjoyed our time in Hanover, and I’m not sure about Melissa, but so far, I have to agree with you – the Whites are the most beautiful part of the trail so far!

  19. kris says:

    hello – was great to meet you guys atop moosilauke on sunday! best of luck with the final 1.5 states!

    kris & zach

  20. Deb says:

    Mel and Mike,
    Enjoyed meeting you at the Mount Mist, NH overlook. The 4 boys who were with us, who appeared largely uninterested when we were talking that day, must have been listening in, as they have commented many times since on your determination and tenacity. You even inspired a flatlander suburban mom like me to get out there more often. Best wishes to you in your final push. Looking forward to seeing your smiling faces in pictures from Katahdin!

  21. Gary says:

    Congratulations Mel and Mike. I have been following you guys with an envious eye. Mike when are you going to be hosting the slide show party?

  22. Brew Ha says:

    Click and Long Time…I really enjoy your web site. Great pics and your comments are spot on.

    I had to leave the trail about 50 miles into New York. I was eating advil like candy and still my feet were swollen and painful. The doc says the marathons and long distance cycling have taken a toll on the pads of my feet. Next time I will need to improve the padding in my shoes and stay off the rocks. (a little PA humor)

    I plan to spend 6 weeks on the trail again next year. I will pick up were I left off and hope to get thru Vermont.

    Congratulations Click…I am sure you were a beautiful bride.

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