Terry Cooke on the Appalachian Trail
“When you’re hiking it (Appalachian trail) you say, ‘I’ll never do this again there’s no way, but you forget the pain, you forget how hard some things are and you remember all the good things and you just want to do it again”. For all of us, pain can be a huge obstacle when it comes to completing a goal, but not for Terry Cooke, and not with SKINS.
Terry Cooke accomplished something most of us only dream of, and she did it twice! In 2013, Cooke first did what’s called a “section hike” on Appalachian Trail (AT). She then returned to the AT in 2022 to complete a “thru-hike” finishing in less than six months. Section hikes offer hikers a less time-consuming alternative to the thru-hike. Cooke’s time on the Appalachian Trail gave her lasting precious memories of the scenery, the wildlife, and the people. Hiking the AT is a culture. Cause when you are out there, nothing else matters other than you and what’s in front of you.
For every triumph, there is trial.
“It’s a thrill! You learn the sounds, your senses become more acute like your sense of smell and hearing.”
Everyone you meet is encouraging you along the way; whether that’s a hostel offering shelter, a local business providing food, or a stranger offering friendship. It’s easy to feel as if you are in your own world but just a mere few miles away lies civilization.
Terry has concerns when hitching a ride unless it’s an emergency, you never know who you will meet on the trail. “Your intuition and common sense are extremely important” she says.
Cooke averaged about 16 miles/day while section hiking and 14 miles/day on her thru hike. In the best shape of her life, she once hiked 30 miles in one day. At 63 years old, Terry believes hiking the Appalachian Trial is not all about physical fitness but mental toughness.
Cooke’s biggest fears were over weather and high-water crossings. “The weather is probably the scariest thing on the trail. You never know what’s going to happen”. Cooke recalls being snowed on, hailed on, and even almost blown off a mountain in Mt. Washington.
“After you get up to Mt. Washington, you’re fully exposed on top a ridge and you have rocks for miles”. Hiking from Mt. Washington to Madison, Terry struggled over this extreme part of the trail. Thankfully, she wasn’t alone.
Often, hikers join a group together commonly referred to as a trail family or “tramily” Terry soon made a tramily of her own and even earned herself a trail name, “T”. As a teacher, avid tea drinker and the name Terry, her trail name was an easy pick. Trusting your tramily is so important on a hike, you never know when you might need each other.
On the difficult hike to Madison, Terry knew she shouldn’t hike alone. “I buddied up with someone because I knew there was a bad storm coming”. Terry and her partner made the decision to find a hut and get out of the storm. Right on the trail, the hikers arrive at a hut just in time, as the man she was with started showing early signs of hypothermia. Luckily the hikers were able to work for stay and get out of the storm!
How did Terry Cooke stare directly in the face of all the challenges and continue her journey? Well, she has an idea.
On her first hike, Cooke made a routine stop into town to look for new hiking wear. She walked into a bike shop in Louisville, Kentucky and purchased a pair of 3/4” tights from a brand she had never heard of: SKINS. Cooke completed the duration of her section hike wearing SKINS and noticed major improvement in two areas. Performance and recovery.
The passionate hiker felt more energized during the long hikes, claiming her legs didn’t get tired as fast! Cooke also brags about the improvement in her recovery after hikes saying,
“I never got sore!”
As a teacher and active hiker, Terry developed a varicose vein on her leg causing her discomfort. Until 2021 when she purchased two pairs of full-length tights from the Series-5 collection. She wore them every day on her thru-hike and noticed a massive change in the varicose veins as well as the discomfort it burdened her with. SKINS Compression allowed Terry to feel her best while pursuing her goals. This is not the last you will see of Terry Cooke. She plans on getting back out on the trails as soon as she can. Her sights are set on the Pacific Crest Trail along the West Coast. Nothing can hold her back now.
The story and life of Terry Cooke is nothing short of extraordinary. A woman made of determination and strength finally found a brand dedicated to helping her reach her highest potential. Just like Terry Cooke, the woman who hiked the Appalachian Trial at 63, you can achieve greatness too. Believing you can is half the battle and at SKINS, we believe you can.