As the Watermelon Guy, I’m constantly looking for new and interesting ways that people use watermelon. Bold, beautiful creations have been produced from the minds of watermelon lovers worldwide.
I’d like to say that I’d do just about anything for watermelon. When I was in the Navy, we used to run four miles up a steep mountain trail where we could see watermelons growing in a patch at the bottom of the hill. I often considered swiping one of those melons for myself, but I didn’t. And while I’ve never really combined running and watermelon in the same activity, this story does.
Jamie Trufin, a 17-year-old high school student from Arizona (above), has earned the title of “Watermelon Man” by carrying two watermelons with him to the top of Camelback Mountain… barefoot. Every Wednesday afternoon, Trufin takes to Camelback’s Echo Canyon trail with a melon in each hand. He says his endeavor started out being a photography project, but lately it’s been focused on the people he meets on the hiking trails. For example, one hiker from New York introduced him to barefoot hiking, another to putting salt on watermelon.
“It helps keep me happy,” Trufin says. His weekly journey to the top of the Echo Canyon trail leaves him at 1,264 feet above sea level, which makes for a perfect setting to scoop some watermelon and reflect. When people ask why he carries watermelons, he only replies, “I get hungry when I hike.”
Trufin’s journeys up the mountain and down again have inspired hikers with kindness, courage, and adventure. I sure wish someone like him was around during our four-mile treks in the Navy. From the Watermelon Guy to the Watermelon Man: good luck, and keep on spreading the good word!
UP NEXT: A National Watermelon Queen is crowned!