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Get Paid $20,000 to Drink Beer & Hike the Appalachian Trail

Man walks Appalachian Trail mountaintop in Maine

Social distancing is a way of life now. We’d argue there’s no better place to find quality time away from other humans than the great outdoors. Thankfully, a Virginia-based brewery is looking to pay one ambitious hiker to trek the entire Appalachian Trail in 2021. But, while the job sounds straightforward and hugely rewarding, it won’t be easy.

This month, Devils Backbone Brewing Company announced an opening for a new Chief Hiking Officer (CHO). The job description is simple: One qualified applicant will receive a $20K stipend to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2021. The brewery also promises to outfit the winner with all the necessary backpacking gear; to provide plenty of Zero Days (i.e., resupply days) in towns along the way; heaps of free Devils Backbone swag; and assistance with “product research” (i.e., free beer) throughout the trip.

The job benefits sound amazing, but the day-to-day requirements won’t be easy. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail isn’t for casual hikers or the faint of heart. In fact, it’s among the most physically and mentally grueling expeditions in North America. An end-to-end trek across the length of the AT covers nearly 2,200 miles and takes around six months to complete. The trail traverses massive elevation changes across eight national forests and two national parks in 14 states from Georgia to Maine.

Vienna Brewery

All of which is why Devils Backbone is clear that they’re only looking for someone who really, really loves hiking. Thru-hikers, of course, need to pack in and pack out all of their own gear, food, and essentials. In addition to long days on the trail, applicants will be sampling new beer at stops along the way (Devils Backbone promises plenty of craft brew-related parties) and documenting their entire journey on social media. The good news is that, because the trip doesn’t start until 2021, the new hiree will have almost a full year to prepare.

Devils Backbone is accepting applications for its Chief Hiking Officer from now through July 31. The official form requires only basic contact information and a link to a 60-second video clip for applicants to prove their qualifications. A fondness for good craft beer is probably helpful, too.

If you’d prefer to go your own way, check out five of the most physically challenging hikes in the United States (not including the AT).

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Mike Richard
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