Recent USC graduate Brice "Keys" Janvrin completed his hike from Maine to Georgia on Nov. 1, walking more than 2,000 miles in four and a half months on the Appalachian Trail.
Part of this trail included crossing four states in 24 hours. Janvrin completed the “four-state challenge” in an effort to raise money for his alma mater, Richland Northeast High School.
“I wanted to do something that could actually allow me to give to others,” Janvrin said. “We actually came up with this idea of raising money as a scholarship fund for Richland Northeast.”
Janvrin kept in close contact with his mom during the hike, who acted as his social media manager. Gina Janvrin kept track of fundraising totals and helped Brice Janvrin surpass his goal by raising about $2,600.
“He thought he’d raised maybe $1,000 and it would go [to] one scholarship, but now he’s thinking he might do, like, three smaller scholarships. You gotta have a lot of perseverance to do what he did, to hike 42.9 miles in 24 hours in four states, and it was pouring down rain during part of it,” Gina Janvrin said.
Brice Janvrin graduated in May with his bachelor's in international studies and environmental studies. He thought he had a job set up in Washington, D.C. after graduation, but when that fell through, Janvrin decided to pursue a dream he’d long had.
“I didn’t actually have much doubt that I was able to do it, it was just a matter of, you know, as long as I don’t get injured and stuff,” Janvrin said. “I figured I’d pretty much make it all the way to the end.”
Not only did Janvrin make it to the end, but he finished a month and a half sooner than many other hikers who take on the challenge. Though he started the trail on his own, he ended up hiking with many different people, walking about 20 miles a day.
“He was traveling with a bunch of other Southbound hikers who I’d met before, and we all started hanging together as like a trail family or a “tramily,” which we called it," trailmate Clio “Happy” Walton said.
Walton and Janvrin hiked the last half of the trail mostly together, though Walton did not take on the four-state challenge.
“It was a really crazy physical challenge and definitely also mental — just to have to keep hiking for that long, especially because he did it alone, but that was really awesome,” Walton said.
Janvrin said the hardest parts of the trail were both the physical aspects of “destroying” his feet, and the tendons in his legs creaking, as well as the mental aspects.
“You wake up everyday dirty or wet or whatever from the day before, and you get up and walk the same way that you walked the day before and the day before that,” Janvrin said. “Even though it is kind of an adventure, it does in a way become monotonous in some portions of the trail.”
However, Janvrin and Walton both attest that anyone could complete the Appalachian Trail if they set their minds to it. They were both led to discover the trail from the book "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson.
As for what’s next for Janvrin, he said: “Well, next, I need to find a job."