A cardiologist, Dr. Pradeep Ghia maintained his own practice in Pennsylvania for more than 30 years. An outdoorsman with an interest in hiking and backpacking the Appalachian Trail, Dr. Pradeep Ghia is particularly fond of the Shenandoah National Park. The National Park Service offers the following advice to individuals considering a backpacking excursion through Shenandoah National Park.
1. Know your outdoor skill level. Plan your trip according to the outdoor skill level of yourself and others in the group. More advanced campgrounds and trails may feature hazards and terrain not appropriate for beginning hikers and backpackers, so take the time to research before you begin planning. Shenandoah National Park offers three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
2. Follow park regulations. Park regulations are in place for the protection of campers, wildlife, and the natural environment. Backpacking in Shenandoah requires all individuals to acquire a permit and attempt to restrict their camping to pre-existing campsites and designated areas. Dispersed camping in a previously undisturbed area is permitted if a pre-existing site cannot be found, but backpackers must abide by the Leave No Trace practice.
3. Pack the right equipment. Packing the proper equipment can help limit your impact on the environment and avoid violating park regulations. Examples of proper equipment include small trowels to burry human waste, portable water filters or purifiers, and ropes to hang food out of the reach of wildlife. Park regulations do not allow campfires, so backpackers will also need to carry an independent fuel source to prepare foods and boil water.
4. Respect wildlife. Keep your distance from any wildlife you encounter and do not feed any animal per park regulations. Wildlife native to the park includes animals that may pose a danger to humans if approached, such as bears and poisonous snakes.
5. Avoid shortcuts. Avoid taking shortcuts while on the trail, particularly between switchbacks on steeper trails. Venturing off trail can lead to hazardous results and may cause damage to the surrounding vegetation, which violates the Leave No Trace rule.
Between 1984 and 2016, Pradeep Ghia served as the president of Pradeep S. Ghia, MD, PC, an invasive cardiology private practice located in Easton, Pennsylvania. In his free time, Pradeep Ghia enjoys hiking and backpacking along the Appalachian Trail, a roughly 2,168-mile hiking trail spanning from Georgia to Maine.
On average, an Appalachian Trail through-hike, hiking from one end of the trail to the other, takes between five and seven months. Two people who have traversed the entire trail, Karl Meltzer and Jeffrey H. Ryan, set out with drastically different goals, one holding the record for finishing the trail in the quickest time, the other taking almost three decades.
At 48 years old, Karl Meltzer set the speed record for the Appalachian Trail by running the entire length of it in just under 46 days. Meltzer, an accomplished ultramarathon runner who has earned the nickname, “Speedgoat Karl,” attempted the speed run three times, succeeding on his third attempt.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have Jeffrey H. Ryan, an author and avid lover of the Appalachian Trail. Taking the trail at a more leisurely pace, Ryan took 28 years to complete it using a method Appalachian Trail hikers call “section hiking.” Instead of taking the trail on all at once, Ryan hiked a section at a time.
To Ryan, section hiking offers the most appeal, giving him the opportunity to immerse himself in his surroundings more than someone like Meltzer, who described the trail as a never-ending tunnel that “more or less looks the same a lot of the time.” Section hiking the trail also proves advantageous for those who want to hike the trail but cannot afford to take five to seven months away from their normal lives.
Whether you are out to prove yourself, set records, and push your limits, or simply want to enjoy the immense beauty offered on the over-2,000-mile hike, the Appalachian Trail has something to offer all hikers and nature lovers.
A board-certified cardiologist with the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Pradeep Ghia manages his own practice in Easton, Pennsylvania, and directs operations for a secondary site in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. Dr. Pradeep Ghia is also a proud supporter of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which encourages members of the public to advance efforts for wildlife and environmental conservation by fundraising through Panda Nation.
Panda Nation serves as the community engagement arm of the WWF and enables individuals to establish their own fundraising campaigns and community projects. The group provides members with the tools and resources to integrate their wild interests into fundraising efforts that contribute toward protecting vulnerable wildlife, habitats, and natural resources. Furthermore, participation in Panda Nation connects members to a supportive community of like-minded individuals.
Fundraising options vary in nature, from celebrating a special occasion through self-created campaigns to participating in an athletic event and dedicating funds toward a WWF cause. Individuals may also share their love of a favorite animal by launching fundraising campaigns that highlight that animal’s importance and significance. For additional information on becoming a part of Panda Nation and fundraising opportunities, visit wwf.worldwildlife.org.
For more than three decades, Dr. Pradeep Ghia practiced cardiology from his office in Easton, Pennsylvania. Dr. Ghia routinely performed cardiac catheterizations, pacemaker installations, and provided many other cardiological services to his patients before he retired in 2016. Outside of his work, Pradeep Ghia supports a number of charitable organizations, including Habitat for Humanity.
In a recent announcement, Habitat for Humanity said that GAF Materials Corporation will continue to serve as a partner and provide support in the form of free roofing materials. GAF is the biggest maker of roofing products in North America and will provide roofing to Habitat builds in both the United States and Canada.
In addition, contractors certified to install GAF products will provide volunteer labor. Habitat for Humanity official Colleen Finn Ridenhour expressed gratitude for the support GAF has provided over the years as well as its renewed commitment. Ms. Ridenhour also pointed out that housing construction costs on Habitat for Humanity builds are lower when partners such as GAF produce materials, which allows Habitat for Humanity to spend its dollars more efficiently.