Meet Living Legend Finalist Chris Hillier!

Nominated by: Sandra Lowe, friend
Christopher Hillier is not a man who talks about a “mission.” He doesn’t claim to be any

more than a man who loves to hike…long distances. Anybody who agrees to go for a walk with Christopher already knows he can go for miles and miles. This hiking man has been on countless trails for months at a time and still revels in the joy of walking anytime, with anyone. Christopher takes the time to include individuals for whom hiking is a challenge. He encourages virtually every person he meets to “get your boots on let’s hit the trail.”

Christopher is an Army veteran and has represented Burning Boots, a hiking group of veterans who are seeking solace and health through walking in nature. He also walked, or “hiked,” non-stop in May 2013 to raise money for the American Cancer Society at the 24-hour Relay for Life. He led a group of vision-impaired young people on a hike through western Michigan. Christopher also crossed the state with a bicyclist who uses a prosthetic leg. He encourages and inspires everyone around him to get moving. Overweight, Asperger’s Syndrome, elderly, young people…these are all individuals who have walked with Christopher and have been moved, literally, by him. His generous acts of inclusion make him a Living Legend.

In addition to hiking, Christopher also educates those around him. He has given talks at a local library and several hiking associations, as well as quasi-governmental agencies, giving advice on gear, terrain, survival, and anything else a person about to go on a hike would need to know. Christopher was nominated for the Governor’s Fitness Award and optimized the opportunity of speaking with Governor Snyder to talk about the importance of accessible and connected trails in Michigan.

No, Christopher isn’t on a mission. But this remarkable man has a vision that anybody who wants to walk should not have obstacles in order to do so. He has taught me and many others that the only real obstacle is lack of motivation.

Charity: American Cancer Society

Hometown: Taylor, MI

Now THIS is Legendary.

“In November of 2012, Michigan’s Governor Snyder proposed a 924 mile trail that starts at Belle Isle in downtown Detroit and traverses the entire state, across the Upper Peninsula to the Wisconsin border. I intend to be the first to thru-hike this trail. My name is Chris Hillier but other hikers call me Wolverine.”

So begins Chris Hillier’s blog.  The staff at SK Headquarters – and a whole lot of other folks in the Ironwood area – had the honor of meeting this fine fellow at the conclusion of his ambitious hike this week.

After 11 weeks traversing the fine state of Michigan, sleeping in tents and surviving what might be the buggiest summer on record in the Upper Peninsula, Chris arrived in Ironwood yesterday afternoon.  His arrival happened to coincide with Festival Ironwood, which gave our community all the more reason to celebrate with him.  Rumor has it that large amounts of food were consumed…

Today, he came to see Kromer caps being made and add his name to our legendary wall.

As it turns out, Chris had his own Stormy Kromer story to share with us.  He recalled being given a hunter green cap by his big brother – a sign in his family that he was now considered a man.  A real honor.  He treasured his cap for years, and through a series of unfortunate circumstances, he lost his cap during a hike somewhere in Pennsylvania.

We were happy to replace it for him.  Cheers, Chris!  You’re a legend in our book.