DeKalb County man hiking Appalachian Trail after 200-pound weight loss

Cross plans to hit the Appalachian Trail on May 1.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:51 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Zach Cross spends a lot of his free time hiking trails around Atlanta and north Georgia.

It’s a hobby that didn’t always come easy. Cross says he weighed around 400 pounds in 2020.

“I had kind of been in a downward spiral since I graduated from college. Most people have the freshman 15, I had the freshman 150,” Cross said.

He knew he needed to change his lifestyle, so he started taking short walks. The walks then turned into hikes and eventually a new passion. Spending time exercising and exploring the great outdoors.

“If I can do it, anyone can. I was 200 pounds overweight this time two and a half years ago and it’s really just about finding something that you love doing,” Cross said.

After hitting his weight loss goal, Cross set a new one. He decided to train to hike the full Appalachian Trail.

The journey spans roughly 2,200 miles, 14 states, and about six months. It will be both physically and mentally exhausting, but it’s a milestone Cross wants to check off his bucket list and inspire others along the way.

“If I can encourage one person to just finally seize their desire to lose weight and actually turn it into action, then I think my mission will have been a success,” Cross said.

Cross plans to hit the Appalachian Trail on May 1. He’ll depart from Springer Mountain in north Georgia.

If you’d like to follow Cross’s journey, click HERE to watch his YouTube vlog.