The connection to hiking and mental health is so clear to me. I like the Hike for Mental Health organization’s approach to proving to aid in overall mental health, and the connection with the conservation of hiking trails and education of best practices just warmed my heart. Bonus, that unlike many charity organizations, the donations that they collect actually make it to the hands in need.
Personally, I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and fear for many years of my life, hiding it from my family, friends, and loved ones. I was conditioned by society and peers to be the strong one, so I was taught to never let them see you cry, aka suck it up and toughen up. After a few severe panic attacks that started affecting my physical health, and in the end, triggering RA, it was a wake-up call to make a shift and reshape my life to, what I like to say, Be_again. I know what it’s like to not fully experience life, to not be happy, and to live in fear. And while I’m fortunate that I could find my way out, I know that others need help to find that trail of hope.
Please help me to raise $2,193 which is the number of miles that it will take to Thru-hike the AT! Just a few dollars from everyone is all that it takes to make a difference in someone’s life… Thanks for donating!
My Sobo 2020/Nobo2021 Thru-hike Itinerary:
1. August 2020: I will start southbound from Harpers Ferry, WV to Springer Mountain, GA (Southern Terminus). Harpers Ferry is kinda in the middle of the whole AT journey and is where the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters is located. At the ATC office, I will be able to register my attempt, get my thru-hiker number, thru-hiker identification tag, and I will get my picture taken on the porch of the office for the 2020 ATC registry book. While the number of hikers on the trail will be reduced this year, starting this time of the year there is a chance that I’ll be able to meet up with hikers who have started their Sobo trips in June from Maine. The bonus in this plan is that I’ll get to hike into the fall colors through the glorious Smoky Mountains. There will also be milder weather patterns, and I’ll get to summit Springer Mountain in the end.
2. April 2021: I will start northbound from Harpers Ferry, WV to Mount Katahdin, ME (Northern Terminus). With most thru-hikers starting in March/April, I’ll be ahead of what is called the bubble, which basically is a large group of hikers. While I’ll kind of miss that experience, I won’t have to worry about overcrowding on the trail, shelters, and at hostels when in town. However, some folks do start in February, and also the faster March hikers could catch up to me around May. So, hopefully, I’ll be back in good enough hiking shape by then to be able to keep up with them. I really want to get the social experience of this journey that the trail magically provides. So for me, the best part of this itinerary is that I get to finish in the traditional AT fashion by summiting Mt. Katahdin in 2021.
WV-GA WV-ME 2020 slash 21:)
You can read more about my story on my blog @ www.thepurposefulhiker.com , Instagram @thepurposefulhiker, or follow my AT progress along on the journaling site www.trailjournals.com/purpose. Hope to see you up the trail – Purpose
1 in 4 families is affected by mental illness.
HIKE for Mental Health is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded on the vision of a world in which everyone, including those who suffer mental illness, can find the simple joy of living.
Our mission is to alleviate the suffering of those afflicted by mental illness, eliminate the associated stigma, and foster responsible use of wilderness trails.
As an all-volunteer organization, we distribute 100% of contributions raised by our hikes.
- 80% funds scientific research to understand and treat mental illness
- 20% conserves national wilderness trails
Your donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. Thank you for your support.
To learn more, visit hikeformentalhealth.org.
To join a hike click here.