Few people will walk as many footsteps in the Southern Appalachians this year as Scot Ward. The 36-year-old professional thru-hiker is currently knocking off his fourth thru-hike of the Mountains to Sea Trail in North Carolina, after which he’ll head over to Kentucky to thru-hike the 280-mile Sheltowee Trace for the secnd time. Then he’ll hike the Tuscarora Trail, Allegheny Trail, Pine Mountain Trail, Pennsylvania Mid State Trail, and Standing Stone Trails. All together, he’s looking to hike seven different long trails, many of which help comprise the Great Eastern Trail (GET), for a total of 2,500 miles before October. Along the way, he’s going to write five different guidebooks for these underserved long trails. It’s all in a year’s work for one of the South’s most intriguing characters.Thru-hiking is a rough life. What makes you keep walking? It’s what I do. I’ve been doing this for 22 years. My first big trip was a bike ride from Florida to New York in 1992. Along the way, I’ve met a lot of generous people who’ve helped me out with showers, bottles of water, a place to stay. I ask how I can repay them, and they always say, “Just pay it forward. Help someone else.” I don’t have any money, I don’t really have a home. I hike and I write these guidebooks as a way of paying back all the favors I’ve been granted. Hopefully, my guidebooks will help others enjoy the adventures that have shaped my life.You’re 36. You never get the urge to settle down? I don’t plan to stop walking, not until my body can’t do it anymore. I have no desire to make money, that’s for sure. Money only causes problems. I left Florida with $7 in my pocket back in ’92 and I did just fine. I know how to survive. That Bear Grylls stuff is ridiculous. Who’s going to eat grubs from a tree? Put a camera on me, I’ll show you how to survive in the real world.You just finished a thru-hike and guidebook for the Sheltowee Trace in Kentucky. What’s that trail like? It’s a totally different experience than the A.T. or Mountains To Sea (MST). It’s not on mountain ridges, it’s in the gorges. Lots of caves, cliffs, rivers, and lakes. It goes through the Red River Gorge too, which is like a mini-grand canyon but with trees.Are you looking forward to hiking any one trail the most this year? The Allegheny Trail and Tuscarora Trail will be new territories for me. But I’m probably looking forward to this Mountains to Sea Trail hike the most. I want to make this trail as good as it can be so I want to resolve the biggest issue surrounding the trail, which is the lack of camping options. Now the state is going to close down state parks two days a week, which is only going to make the problem worse. 1 2
Once again, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team (11-9, 6-2) was led by its two major inside threats in senior forwards Lin Zastrow and Tara Steinbauer.It may seem like a common theme, but with star senior guard Alyssa Karel struggling with her shooting and scoring just nine points, Zastrow and Steinbauer were needed more than ever Sunday against Illinois. Scoring 28 points in the paint, inside play was a key to the Badgers’ 60-47 win over the Fighting Illini as UW proved that it truly is an inside-out team.“Offensively…we attacked inside early, Tara had a great, strong start,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “We really keyed in on Lin a lot, then we hit a couple threes and we stopped going inside for a while.”It comes as no surprise that, when the Badgers started relying on their outside game, they quickly fell behind to Illinois. Still leading with just over five minutes left in the first half, Wisconsin had to come back to make it a one-point Illinois lead at halftime.The most telling part of that stretch was that the Badgers lost an edge when they stopped making an effort to consistently get the ball to the post players. Although Steinbauer had 10 quick points early on, the Illini clearly had an easier time defending Wisconsin when the Badgers fired shots from outside.“We’ve been able to find success [inside]; our guards have been doing a great job,” Steinbauer said. “We’ve emphasized bounce-passing into the post, which has not only gotten us more post touches, but limited our turnovers. So, [it’s] definitely something we’re working to improve every day.”Even though she may give much of the credit to the guards, Steinbauer finished with 19 points, and her success inside the paint was crucial to the team’s rebounding in the second half.Passing was also a key to the post game against Illinois, as the Badgers tallied 14 assists to the Illini’s eight and relied on great passes to open up good looks inside. As players struggled to find a true rhythm from outside, the emphasis on looking for the best option gave Wisconsin plenty of high-percentage shots. Zastrow had four assists herself, a sign that even the post players were trying to spread the scoring.“I’ve gotten yelled at quite a few times in my career for too much passing, but I guess I always want to look to pass first,” Zastrow said. “I love getting my teammates involved, helping my teammates out. So I just work on that all the time.”After shooting just 37.7 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from beyond the arc in the game, getting points in the paint was clearly the best strategy for mounting a comeback. Zastrow and Steinbauer also got some help from junior forward Anya Covington, who finished with four points and missed just one shot from the field.Another effect of the Badgers’ impressive performance inside was that it created plenty of opportunities at the free throw line. Making 16 of its 17 shots from the charity stripe, UW made up for much of its poor shooting by fully taking advantage of free baskets.The Badgers’ inside players were also able to slow down Illinois by getting their players, particularly their star sophomore forward Karisma Penn, into foul trouble.Despite the fact that Penn finished the game with 18 points, her four personal fouls limited her playing time in the second half. Penn’s foul trouble was a direct result of the aggressive play inside by Zastrow and Steinbauer.“Our bread and butter is our inside game, and I think getting Karisma Penn into foul trouble, especially early on in that second half, was huge for us,” Steinbauer said. “We had a definite size advantage down low.”Perhaps the importance of the inside play was best displayed by the way it frustrated the Badgers’ opponent. By taking out the Illini’s best player and leading Wisconsin’s offense, Zastrow and Steinbauer clearly had a major impact on the game.“They [have] experienced posts, two seniors that have been here,” Illinois head coach Jolette Law said. “Sometimes I look, and it’s like wow, Zastrow is still here”?
#49ers Eric Reid on VP Pence leaving after anthem protest: pic.twitter.com/6p3uVW5tBl— Cam Inman (@CamInman) October 8, 2017Reid’s former 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick, who began that form of protest in 2016, addressed the demonstrations taking place across the country with multiple social media posts shared Thursday.”When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” Kaepernick said. “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back! Rest in power George Floyd.”Former Minneapolis police offer Derek Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after video surfaced earlier in the week showing him pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck while arresting Floyd on suspicion of forgery. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital after medical officials reportedly spent an hour trying to revive him. Our prayers are with the family of George Floyd and our prayers are also with the family of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. We have no tolerance for racism in America. We have no tolerance for violence inspired by racism. And, as President Trump said, justice will be served.— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) May 29, 2020We believe in law and order in this Country. We condemn violence against property or persons. We will always stand for the right of Americans to peacefully protest and let their voices be heard.— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) May 29, 2020MORE: Colin Kaepernick defends Minnesota protests after death of George FloydYeah, about that…Back in October 2017, Pence attended a game between the 49ers and Colts in Indianapolis. He didn’t stay long, though, as he left after seeing multiple San Francisco players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.”I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem,” Pence said at the time.Eric Reid was one of the 49ers players regularly taking a knee prior to the start of games that season, and he pointed out how Pence’s recent comments don’t match his previous actions.You were singing a different tune when you rejected our peaceful protest at the 49’ers vs Colts game, wasting tax payers’ money to stage your publicity stunt. https://t.co/iGSpjFSnZD— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) May 30, 2020Pence’s walkout cost at least $325,000, according to a HuffPost report. The move appeared to be preplanned because journalists were informed “there may be an early departure from the game,” and Trump said he told Pence to leave if any players chose to kneel during the national anthem.”Until he can prove that he’s been an avid Colts fan and he comes to NFL games on a regular basis, this is PR,” Reid said after the game. Vice President Mike Pence attempted to deliver a message of unity on Friday as protests continued following the death of George Floyd, but he was quickly criticized for his hypocrisy.Pence declared President Donald Trump’s administration “will always stand for the fight of Americans to peacefully protest and let their voices be heard.”