In the fall of 2020, Signal Mountain native Skyler Baker felt like he was at a crossroads.
Baker, who works for a Knoxville construction management company, said last November he got an email notifying him his apartment lease was up for renewal.
For the then-26-year-old, the email represented an inflection point. Lots of his friends were getting married and settling down, he said, and he knew his days of care-free decision making were numbered.
The question he faced was simple: Should he re-up his apartment lease or clock-out of his job and head for the hills?
For the past few years, Baker has built on his childhood affinity for the outdoors. About seven years ago, a random day hike in the Smoky Mountains sparked an interest in extended journeys afoot. A couple of years later, while working in Chattanooga, he began a trail running hobby that eventually led to running an ultra-marathon.