Extra headerApril 2019

Graduate spends months hiking Appalachian Trail

As a Boy Scout, Cody Lindberg's interest in the outdoors and nature was a given. On his way to the Eagle Scout status, he'd seen many a camp site and hiking trail. But one of his recent endeavors far surpassed anything the 2017 graduate of Wayland had ever accomplished: Hiking the complete Appalachian Trail.

Lindberg, 23, spent the first eight months of his life after college exploring some of the most beautiful and challenginLindberg and the trail signg spots in the American landscape while hiking the trail, covering a total of 2,190.1 miles. A native of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he majored in business, wrestled and served in Enactus and the President's Ambassadors while at Wayland. But few of those experiences could truly prepare him for the challenge.

"The first time I even heard of the Appalachian Trail was sitting in my dorm room searching the internet after I had torn my ACL my freshman year," recalls Cody. "I saw that there was a volunteer opportunity on the trail tour in Vermont, and decided to go spend two weeks up there as a trail maintainer.

"While there, I met some of the first through-hikers that were doing the whole trail and learned about it. I fell in love with the culture and the laid-back atmosphere and how friendly people were," he said.

Lighting a fire

The interest in hiking the trail stayed in Lindberg's mind until his last semester at Wayland, when he made the decision: If he was ever going to venture out, that next summer would be the time to do it. He spent the next six months planning everything from his route to his pack Lindberg at 2000-mile markneeds to sleeping options and other aspects of the hike.

The speed record for the full hike is 45 days, but Cody wanted to take his time, enjoy the adventure and explore along the way. He opted to hike north to south (starting in central Maine and ending in northern Georgia) so he'd be in the warmer climates coming into the winter months. He also took three months off to vacation and go home for Christmas, with five months actually spent hiking.

Cody says he started out logging around 10 miles a day, but as he built up his endurance was able to cover up to 20 miles in a day. When he'd arrive at a trail town - cities that are close to the trailheads and cater heavily to the hiking culture - he'd often load up on supplies and food, take a day off and explore or do laundry, sleeping in a local hostel.

Along the trail

"Wake-up times varied for me, then I'd pack up camp, do chores, eat breakfast and plan out how far I wanted to go that day, deciding on a shelter point to hit," he explained of a typical day. "On a good day there are some good views and outcrops, but 90 percent of the day is in the forest, or what they call the 'green tunnel.'

"I was surprised how many people were out there. I went to hike southbound for a bit more solitude, but on the day I started, 13 other people started. There were lots of recent college grads, mostly guys, some retired folks. I hit it off with people right off the bat due to having many things in common," he added.

Cody said the other travelers added a sense of security and family, and they'd often connect in the evenings at the shelter points and discuss their journey. While he tried to avoid hiking in deep darkness, especially in areas with black bears, as the winter months approached that became harder to do and still cover a good amount of ground each day.

Lindberg said he was not disappointed by the adventure. Lindberg and his motherHis mother joined him in Vermont for 25 days of hiking as an added bonus. But the physical aspect of the hike was more demanding than expected, though regular stretching helped to alleviate foot pain. The exercise whittled his waistline, and he dropped 40 pounds by the time his journey was complete.

Still, he is grateful both for the chance to do the hike and the memories made along the way to this rare accomplishment. Being able to save money while in college and pay for the adventure were added bonuses.

"I just wanted to do this while I had the opportunity. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," he says. "When you look at a feat of 2000 miles, it almost seems impossible. To slowly tick away and finally accomplish it just felt great."

Lessons learned:

  • Pack lighter: You don't need as much as you think you do. His pack started at 62 pounds and eventually was whittled to 20, making the hike much easier. Too much junk in your pack slows you down on the journey.
  • Gain perspective: Americans live with many creature comforts and take much for granted. As Cody says, when you spend months in the woods and with a tiny shelter, it reminds you how easy things are in the civilized world.
  • Solitude can be good: Being alone can often dredge up feelings and emotions that you've never dealt with. But having the time to work through those and move ahead is refreshing and healing.

Devotional: God's grace sustains in feast, famine

You would think that any believer that started this walk 60 years ago would have this trust thing down. Hopefully, others are not having to be in God's Trust Classroom their whole lives. They may be quicker learners and are not constantly second-guessing God's plan in the daily, weekly and yearly. Why is it I still struggle when newTrust walk trials come my way? Peter tells us to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." I know this, I've taught this! But I've yet to let out a "whoopie" when a new trial comes.

You might think this is because I've not had that many trials. Maybe not compared to Job and several others , but I cherish the lessons learned in times when all I had was God and discovered that was more than enough. There have been several losses - the loss of my hand in an accident, the loss of our son a few months before he was to be born, and the loss of both parents from devastating diseases. In each case, I learned more about my God as my Peace, Strength, Power, Sustainer as well as the omnipotent Creator I could trust. So why does that Peace not immediately canopy my heart when fears begin to creep in? Are all those lessons learned for naught?

I wish there was a post script to the book of Job as to how he handled the rest of his life after trials. Did his new knowledge of and relationship with the Creator ever waver in the challenges of old age? Did he continue to thank God every time he saw a cloud and was humbled again at his inability to duplicate it? Did he look at his new family and ever fear knowing how quickly they could be taken from him? I tend to think Job's lessons were so well learned that he was able to see God's hand in every blessing and struggle. This God he had "heard of" and now "knew" was constantly on his heart and mind because Job had learned he shouldn't/couldn't question an all-knowing Creator. The only thing left was to trust Him.

We've all been there when it comes to areas where we have little or no expertise. We have to trust the mechanic, plumber or doctor. It's not comfortable to do so but we have no choice. Why do we struggle so much more with trusting the ultimate Expert who is perfectly infallible, unlike your mechanic, plumber or doctor. Is it possible we actually don't believe the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving Creator of the universe knows what He is doing? Our doubts and fears resemble a rebellious teenager, questioning a loving parent's motives and love. Our Father who sent His Son to the cross in our place could only want what is good for us. Why is it so hard to not immediately trust and know we serve a living God?

My desire is a walk so close to the living God that fears and doubts never distract my gaze from the face of the One that fills my life with so much Hope and Peace. The Psalmist tells of a "river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when the morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Ps 46:4-7

Kathie Jackson earned her bachelor's degree at Wayland in 1974 and began teaching in Australia with husband Mike, whom she met at WBU. The two spent several decades in public education before Kathie retired three years ago. Today she enjoys ministry work, gardening and hanging out with their children and 10 grandchildren.

From the History Files

One of the many beloved characters from Wayland history was president Dr. Roy McClung, who served during the 1960s and '70s and was known for his friendly demeanor. At Homecoming in October 2018, golden anniversary alumnus Carol Coffey Carryer shared some great memories of Dr. McClung from her days as a student.

In this installment of the history files, we wanted to share Carol's memories, and we believe that others who attended during those years probably share some of the same. Enjoy!

Dr. Roy C. McClung died Tuesday, March 26. Roy McClung swings a hammerHe was 95. I cried when I heard the news. Dr. McClung was one of the most significant people in my life and I will miss him greatly.

I first met Dr. McClung in Farmington, New Mexico, the summer of 1964 after my senior year in high school. I was on a youth committee for the San Juan Baptist Association in charge of planning for a citywide summer youth revival. The revival was to be led by Dr. McClung, then president of Wayland Baptist College in Plainview, Texas. One of my responsibilities was to find homes to host Dr. McClung and a number of the youth for lunch each day. I chose my home as one of the locations.

The day of the luncheon at our home was fraught with anxiety. I don't even remember what we ate. But our house was in the process of being built while we lived in it. Most of the inside was unfinished with just a subfloor, unfinished drywall, some rooms with just studs and insulation. The kitchen was a makeshift setup since we didn't have cabinetry yet. In the center of the room was a large dining table on top of a piece of linoleum. In spite of all of this, it was important to me as chair of this committee that I host one of the luncheons.

Another reason it was so important was that I had applied to Wayland Baptist College and been accepted. I wanted to meet the president of the college and let him know that I was coming to his school as soon as I could save enough money. No one in my family had gone to college and the whole process was a mystery to me. I had not even been able to visit the campus 500 miles away, but it sounded like a school just about the right size and affiliated with my church denomination where I felt secure. I was fortunate to have a group of friends in high school who were good students and college-bound and it helped me see that I could do that too, but I didn't have the means to go without saving up the money I needed. My Daddy had started a new business and there was not an extra dollar to spare. So I had decided to delay going for a year, get a job, and save every cent I could.

The day of the luncheon was sunny and bright. It was a New Mexico summer day. Dr. McClung arrived, accompanied by one of the pastors in the association, and sat at the head of our table. The youth committee sat around the table while my mother served us lunch. I sat right next to Dr. McClung. During the course of the luncheon, I was able to tell him that I had been accepted at Wayland and my plan was to come as soon as I got enough money together, probably a year from that fall. He was pleased that I had chosen Wayland and asked me about my family and myself. It was a pleasant afternoon. He couldn't have been more warm or gracious sitting at the head of the table in an unfinished house with a make-do kitchen.

The week ended after being packed with church and youth activities non-stop. I returned to my job as secretary in a civil engineer's office and settled in to work for the school year and save my money.

Late one evening about two weeks later, the pastor of our church called my house and asked to speak to my mother. He knew it was late, but wondered if he could come over. He had something important to discuss. When he arrived, he asked me to join them. He had received a call from Dr. Roy McClung at Wayland Baptist College. Dr. McClung said he had been thinking of that little Carol Lee Coffey he met in Farmington that had applied to Wayland, and he couldn't get her off his mind. Since he returned, he had discussed my situation with the Business Manager, Charles Bassett, and they could offer me a student loan that would cover tuition and a job in his office twenty hours a week that would pay my room and board. The only problem, I needed to be there in two weeks before the start of school! I looked at Mama and Daddy and my Mama said that this is what she had been praying for. My Daddy always encouraged us to do what we wanted to do. "You can do anything. You're a Coffey," he would say. We told our pastor to make the call to Dr. McClung. I would be there.

The next two weeks were a whirlwind. Before we knew it we had our car packed to the gills with what I thought I might need, having never even visited the campus before and knowing no one except Dr. McClung. Mama, Daddy, my sister Susie, and my little brother, Mark, made the 500 miles in one day. Dr. McClung had told us to come to their home when we arrived in Plainview. We found their home easily on campus. It was the big three-story brick house with tall, white columns in the front. A mansion! We went up to the door and rang the doorbell and Dr. and Mrs. McClung answered with big smiles all around and ushered us in. They were warm, inviting, and down-to-earth and had us sit down for a simple dinner. There was an added bonus. The McClung's daughter, Nancy, was there. She was my same age and would be enrolling as a freshman, too. We hit it off right away. Dr. McClung briefed me on where I was to stay and when I was to report for work. Afterward, he walked us across campus to the oldest building on campus, Matador Hall. This was to be my dorm for the first semester. We unloaded my things and I went to the hotel with Mama, Daddy and Mark for the night. The next morning they dropped me back at Matador Hall, said goodbye and drove off. Mama said Daddy pulled over to the side of the road and cried. Of course, I was already homesick and crying as I said goodbye and saw my two-year old little brother waving from the window.

Well, there I was at college. I didn't know a soul. I cleaned up and headed over to the administration building, Gates Hall, to find Dr. McClung's office and get started. When I walked into his office, Maxine Marsh, his secretary for many years, greeted me. Maxine had become part of the McClung family and had served as his executive secretary at his pastorate in Louisville, Kentucky and First Baptist Church in Plainview before following him into the presidency of Wayland. Maxine was all business as she showed me around and showed me the desk in the reception area where I was to work. Dr. McClung came out to say hello, but I was left in Maxine's hands.

The two weeks went by so fast. Nancy McClung and I spent a lot of time together. She had two brothers and decided I could be her sister. I crossed the street from Matador Hall to the President's home numerous times over the weeks. Nancy helped me fix up the large, cavernous corner room in Matador Hall. I spent several nights over at Nancy's and had most of my dinners there. By the time it was time to register for classes, I knew my way around, had settled in my job, made a few friends, and knew I had come to the right place.

Maxine and I were to become lasting friends. I learned more from her those four years than in all the classes I took. I learned how to turn out a perfect, mistake-free document (and this was before computers!), how to set up for Trustees' meetings, how to greet visitors properly, participated in receptions at the President's home, all the while gaining confidence. Dr. McClung was always in the background. Maxine told me later that he said when he met me in Farmington, he thought I was a "diamond in the rough," and set out to help me realize my dream of going to college.

My four years at Wayland were transformational in many ways. I made lifelong friends, Nancy being one of them. I was a member of the Wayland International Choir, the concert choir under the direction of James Cram, which I loved. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a minor in English.

Graduation came in May 1968. Mama and Daddy drove over from Farmington for the event. It was a proud day. After graduation, the McClungs hosted all seniors and their families for a reception in their home. By then, it was a familiar place and I knew my way around. We enjoyed the afternoon and Mama and Daddy were able to spend some time visiting with the McClungs and parents of my friends. Then it was time to say good-bye. Goodbye to the McClungs, goodbye to Wayland. We headed over to the dorm to finish loading up my things for the trip home to Farmington. After we were all packed up and heading out of Plainview, Daddy said he had one more stop. He drove back over to the McClungs and asked us to wait in the car. Most of the seniors and families were gone. He walked up and rang the doorbell and was invited in. Dr. McClung told me years later that Daddy came in and asked to speak to him privately. He shook his hand and told him how much he appreciated all he had done for his daughter and that he would be forever grateful. He thanked God for him and how much he had meant to all of us.

Several years later I took my then future husband, Peter, by Plainview to meet the McClungs and show him the campus. The McClungs had us stay the night with them. A year later, Dr. McClung came to Lawton, Oklahoma, to perform our marriage ceremony. He and I exchanged Christmas cards for over forty years, up until the time he was admitted into the care facility in Louisville.

There are so many stories I could tell. It isn't an overstatement to say that he was one of the most significant people in my life. Dr. McClung was able to see potential in the naive young woman sitting in her poor surroundings with the hope of being the first in her family to go to college. He knew it was a risk for me to wait a year, that I would never go. Dr. McClung personally made it possible. I loved and admired him. He was my mentor and my advisor. He considered me part of his family. I was also grateful for the respect and honor he paid my parents when they brought me to Wayland and afterward.

Upon the news of his death as I read comments from people on Facebook, I saw that he touched the lives of many in so many ways. The care and love he showed me was extended to others across the years of his life. He was a good man, a Godly man. I thank God that he came into my life. I will never forget Dr. McClung.

Carol Coffey Carryer graduated in 1968 and now lives in Minnesota.

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