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Appalachian Trail hiker is rescued

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — A man trying to hike the entire 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail was rescued Friday after calling 911 to say he did not think he would be able to make it out of a section in Tennessee because he was blocked by snowdrifts up to 5 feet high.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park spokeswoman Molly Schroer said rescuers used two helicopters to lift out Steven Ainsworth, 56, of Washington, N.C.

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Schroer said Ainsworth was airlifted to a Gatlinburg airport and then transferred to a medical center in Sevierville for evaluation.

His condition was not yet known.

Schroer said Ainsworth started his trip in June, heading south from Maine, determined to hike the trail end-to-end in a single season.

The trek is known as a thru-hike.

Ainsworth had started this section of the trail at Davenport Gap on Monday, she said.

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