Posted by: davepidgeon | June 23, 2009

SC Guv hiking the A.T.

Coming from the separate world of politics and outdoor adventure, I can with a certain level of expertise say that when the two collide, it makes for strange circumstances.

Your honor, Compass Points would like to submit People’s Evidence No. 1: When a governor decides to backpack the A.T. and not tell the press,police or his spouse:

(Gov. Mark Sanford) has been mysteriously absent for four days, setting the South Carolina political world abuzz with chatter about why he left and where he went. Even his wife Jenny told reporters she didn’t know of his location.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a fellow Republican and opponent of Sanford, told CNN that South Carolina law enforcement officials informed him Saturday that the governor had taken a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division SUV last Thursday and had not yet returned.

He didn’t even tell his wife? But apparently he informed his press people, who kept it to themselves for several days. Nobody thought to pick up the phone and call Mrs. Sanford?

Now, I’m all for politicos getting outdoors and experiencing the best of America’s wilderness because maybe, just maybe, it will move them toward better protections for our woods and waters. But when you’re the governor, you can’t just go missing for a romp among the trees. At least tell your wife where you’re going.

Or not, I suppose, if you had a few good reasons.

Just a bizarre story.

Update: I doubt anybody wants to see Sanford naked, but …

From the Christian Science Monitor:

We’re not suggesting that the formerly missing Governor of South Carolina specifically ditched his family and security detail to go hiking on Naked Hiking Day. It’s just that one of the days he hit the trail also happened to be the aforementioned holiday.


Sanford had not disappeared. According to his spokesman, he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Coincidentally, on Naked Hiking Day.

It’s a big tradition. Many hikers celebrate the summer solstice by hiking au naturel. It just so happened the solstice occurred on Fathers Day — one of the days Sanford was hiking.

<Snip one more time>

If he did participate in the summer solstice celebration (which we acknowledge is not likely), he could get into some real trouble. Rangers and police warn that people caught outdoors in the altogether could be charged with indecent exposure. Managers of the Appalachian Trail, where the tradition is sometimes observed by those trekking from Georgia to Maine, also discourage nudity.

“It’s just rude,” said Brian King, spokesman for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. “People are out there hiking with their kids and families, and there are Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.”


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