We all knew it would come to something like this: South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted to an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. As you’ll recall, he spent Thursday to Sunday in Buenos Aires, even though his staffers told the media he was hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail.
For a while, we thought Sanford might be that rare government figure who shares a pastime with both us and BACKPACKER readers (retiring Supreme Court judge David Souter is the real deal), but that sadly isn’t the case, at least in this instance.
So what was once a potential opportunity to expose the broader world to backpacking now becomes a sordidly ordinary tale we’ve heard from men in power many times before. BACKPACKER’s former Associate Editor Jason Stevenson (and current PA-based freelancer) put it best: "Now ‘hiking the AT’ symbolizes 1) infidelity or 2) dropping off the face of the Earth. Either way, hikers don’t win."
Get ready for some lame-***, late-night jokes about the Appalachian Trail and extramarital affairs in the coming days. Thanks a lot, Sanford.