2 Years of Connection

Aug. 05, 2021

For 2 years Rue McKenrick has spent his time building the American Perimeter Trail. Of those 2 years he has spent 18 months of that backpacking and scouting the route. In each town that he passed he connected with people, creating a thread that has slowly been encompassing the contiguous United States. In this time where we have been divided and separated in everything from politics to medicine to race, Rue stands apart, seeking to unify the country. This journey has never been about fame or fortune, but in part a mission to demonstrate the humanity that is in all of us. His spirit and perseverance have fueled his steps, while the heartbeat of the nation provides the rhythm.

Over the first 6 months of his trek Rue met the founding members of the American Perimeter Trail family, Molly of California, Deborah of Arizona, and more. Their spirit and care of Rue began the tapestry of community connection that continues to become integral to the unification work. As he backpacked across Texas and the southern lowlands there were no trail towns as with those in California and Arizona. Unlike the major National Scenic Trails, a large majority of the towns through which Rue has hiked are not trail towns. Backpackers are not familiar; they are outsiders, different, vagrants, and still the communities have welcomed Rue when learning of his quest. In our infancy the American Perimeter Trail has the monumental task of breaking ground in many areas and educating the communities around the land of the trail. A connection of the community to the land, the people to their land.

Despite the incredible care from the communities along the North Country Trail from Michigan to North Dakota the toll of 17 months of continuous trail life became too much. Rue made the courageous and safe decision to return home on medical leave. In his final moments on trail in October 2020 the American Perimeter Trail communities began to solidify into a larger family, the unification process accelerating.

Back on trail since May 2021 Rue celebrated the 2 year anniversary alone on trail, unable to even celebrate virtually with this community that he has been establishing. The past 3 months have brought incredible hardship with the unexpected death of his brother, a dance with a tornado, and unprecedented heat and drought in the Northwest. In spite of these challenges Rue has continued, determined to complete the first scouting hike, and wrap the country in the love that resides within our humanity. Residents of the Northwest have provided Rue with many physical necessities, and in providing these gifted him with their humanity and love, connecting to him, and to the other communities that have become a part of the American Perimeter Trail.

The American Perimeter Trail is dependent not on Rue finishing the first scouting hike, but on the communities through which the trail will pass. The incredible feat of Rue is not his backpacking abilities, but his gift of connection, drawing each community closer towards its neighboring one through simple geography.

5 thoughts on “2 Years of Connection

    1. Renee, I get my inspiration from all of you. How do you think I keep going. It’s been harder being off Trail to be honest. This maybe the biggest challenge of the APT experience yet. Don’t misunderstand I sign up for this! The whole thing called life! Thank you so much for your message

  1. We are definitely related but I’m not sure exactly how. My maiden name was Shirlee Jean McKenrick (daughter of Walter Grey McKenrick who was born in Curwensvile, Pennsylvania on August 1, 1898). So with that connection in mind, it has been a pleasure to follow and financially support Rue on his journey. I pray for restored good health for him and at last a journey’s end.

  2. This is a phenomenal feat and a great moral booster. I will be beginning a trek myself mid-May of 2022, encompassing the US by bicycle & backpack.

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