Retired CMPD captain talks about logging nearly 1,300 miles on Appalachian Trail

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 12:12 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Retired CMPD captain and cancer survivor, Michelle Hummel, is back home in the Charlotte area after hiking nearly 1,300 miles on the Appalachian Trail.

Hummel spent several months on the cross-country trek. She documented the journey on social media, posting photos and videos on her Facebook page throughout the journey.

In a previous interview with WBTV, Hummel explained that she was embarking on the trek to honor law enforcement officers who had died and raise money for several charities. She said she also wanted to contemplate her own purpose after retiring from the police department.

The retired CMPD captain spoke to WBTV in a Zoom interview Thursday, explaining the details of her trip.

“I’ve said it was amazing and it was awful and it was everything in between because there were days it was spectacular and days it was just horrible,” said Hummel.

She said she was walking several miles every day, occasionally stopping for rest. The trip proved to be very challenging.

“Four liters of water plus all your other stuff is a lot of weight up and down the mountain, and it’s very rocky. It’s very dangerous. Some parts of it technical. So it just makes for a really, really tough time,” explained Hummel.

After traveling nearly 1,300 miles, much of that in the heat of the warmer months, Hummel said she decided it was time to stop the expedition. She said the hike became more and more difficult during the hot and humid summer months.

“It just wasn’t calling out to me so I felt like the right thing was to stop where I was, come home and do the rest of it on my terms, really,” she elaborated.

Hummel said that even after she had cut the hike short in July, she still made a special trip to Maine in September. Some of her trail companions had reached the summit of Mount Katahdin and were completing the trek. The small group honored Andy Molatch, a retired CMPD officer who died of cancer in 2014, by taking Molatch’s ashes to the summit.

“He was just a great man, a great police officer, just a great person,” said Hummel of Molatch.

She explained that even though she didn’t finish hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, she is still proud of herself for the distance she logged.

“I come home and I say, ‘well I only did 1,300 miles,’ but then I have people say, ‘no, you did 1,300 miles,’” Hummel explained with a smile.

The retired officer said she raised $11,000 to be split among five different charities: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Salute to Heroes Charlotte Foundation, Charlotte Cobras Football, COPS 4 the CURE and the Warrior Jace Foundation.

The GoFundMe page Hummel created to raise money for the charities is still active for anyone who wishes to donate.

Hummel said she still hopes to finish hiking the rest of the trail in segments over the next few years.

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