Every year, more and more Appalachian Trail thru hikers make HIKE for Mental Health a part of their AT thru hikes. So far, more than 130 AT hikers have raised a total of more than $60,000 for mental health research, programs to overcome the stigma of mental illness, and trail conservancy.
Since Robert Redford and Nick Nolte took “A Walk in the Woods” on the big screen in 2016, there have been more hikers following the white blazes than ever before.
Whether going NoBo, Sobo, flip-flopping or creating their own way to complete the 2,185 mile footpath from Georgia to Maine, these thru hikers who register with HIKE for Mental Health have one thing in common: a desire to do some good for others along the way.
2,000 thru hikers, 2,000 reasons
About 2,000 hikers set out every year to complete one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, and there are almost as many reasons for hiking as there are hikers.
- Many seek the solitude of the woods, the “path less travelled,” and the opportunity to discover more about themselves surrounded by the beauty and the challenges of the wild.
- Some see a great adventure with breathtaking views and new friendships that will last a lifetime.
- The physical, mental and spiritual challenge of persevering through the heat, the cold, the rain, the hunger, and the aching muscles is what draws some thru hikers.
- For others, their thru hike on the AT is the fulfillment of a life-long dream, a calling even, finally to be realized after years of dreaming and hoping and planning.
- Some thru hike as a way of making a transition in their lives through this six-month transformational journey that moves them beyond what was and into what is to come.
- Thru hiking the AT is a re-grounding experience for some, allowing them deal with other realities in life by immersing themselves in the basic realities of the daily dependence on water, food and shelter.
Or maybe a thru hike is just about taking a walk, a very, very long walk.
HIKE for Mental Health on your thru hike
Whatever your reasons for thru hiking the AT, we hope you will consider including HIKE for Mental Health on your journey. It costs you nothing, and it gives back so much, to you and to many others you will never even meet. In return for the few minutes it takes to register your hike with HIKE for Mental Health and share it with your friends, you will receive:
- Family, friends and total strangers rooting you on after having donated to a cause in honor of your hike
- The extra motivation that comes from knowing family, friends and total strangers donated to a cause in honor of your hike
- The chance to help fund break-through research that will alleviate suffering from depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other major mental illnesses
- The satisfaction of knowing you helping to maintain wilderness trails across the US for future generations
- A super cool HIKE for Mental Health quick-dry, wicking, antimicrobial hiking shirt, (sent to you once your sponsors donate a total of $100). The shirts are so comfortable and light-weight that some thru hikers wore almost nothing else (for a shirt) on their entire hikes
Still not convinced? That’s okay. Hike your own hike, for your own reasons.
But if including HIKE for Mental Health will make your Appalachian Trail thru hike better, here’s more info and the place to sign up: