Zepp nearing end of Appalachian Trail journey

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STRATTON, Maine The last time we checked in with former Black Hills FOX sports director Jamie Zepp was in early July.
He was about halfway through his quest to complete the hike of the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail.
We had the chance to talk with Jamie again Tuesday, with the end in sight.

Jamie Zepp

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says only one in four people who try to through-hike the Appalachian Trail make it. Jamie Zepp is now within reach of becoming one of the elite.
He started March 19th in Georgia.
When we talked to him Tuesday, he was in Stratton, Maine, 2,002 miles into his journey with only 188 miles to go.

Jamie says, "I've got to think I'm going to run the gamut of emotions--relief, excitement, fear. I mean, what am I going to do after this? That's the question that's starting to creep into the back of my mind, now and again. I'm trying to stay focused on just getting through a day, finishing and not letting the grind get me down."

But to get to that point at Katahdin, Maine, it's back on the trail. And after more than 2,000 miles of walking, that in itself presents some big challenges.

Jamie says, "Body's pretty beat up right now. Feeling good because yesterday we did cross the 2,000 mile mark and that was a huge morale boost. The knees are banged up, the joints are hurting. It's tough pushing myself off a chair, even when we got a chance to sit down and eat yesterday, but hanging in there."

While convincing the body to go on can be a big challenge, that's not the only thing standing in the way.
Jamie says, "Now it's definitely mental. The grind is definitely on me hard. I kind of checked out mentally. I'm just trying to finish because I'm ready to come home."

One of the things that Jamie says keeps him going is the people he's met along the way, saying that are one of the truly extraordinary parts of this trek. And that's one of the reasons he'll come back to the Black Hills a little different than he left.

Jamie says, "I think you have to. I think there are things you put yourself through. I think for me, a large part of it is the confidence boost."

Jamie says he often wakes up wondering why he's doing this but says he's never regretted it for a minute.