In 2020 Shawn and Casey had been planning a week-long trip that would be the longest and most physically challenging hike that either one had been on. Unfortunately in February 2020 Shawn committed suicide. Shawn enjoyed adventure but we were only able to share one adventure together, and that trip will live with me forever.
I decided that I must complete the trip, as he would want me to. I set out with my dog in tow, and adventure in my heart, taking pictures of the landscape while holding a photo of Shawn, as if he were there enjoying it with me.
One evening I made camp in an unscheduled spot when a tall, lanky gentleman came sauntering down the trail. We chatted for a bit, we exchanged names (Mat was his) then bid farewell as he headed off to see if another tent site down the trail would work for him. A half hour later he came back, expressing that those sites would not work, and if he could set up camp next to me. During our chat we found out that we lived in the same area, and exchanged phone numbers.
How Mat and I met certainly has not been lost on us, and is cherished between the two of us. We are now best friends and adventure buddies, so of course we are doing this together!
Shawn isn’t the first and will not be the last who has been in my life and suffered from mental illness, and most likely you have someone in your life who is or has suffered.
Shawn’s last lesson for me was profound. When you love someone, you do whatever it takes to be with them. Do not let life get in your way. Everyone has a number, and you never know when that number will arrive.
What we are doing
Mat and Casey will be hiking from Mt St Helens, over to Mt Adams through the Goat Rocks, and ultimately end at the base of Mt Rainier. This trip is 166 miles long and we will complete it in 7 days. That means we will be hiking an average of 23.71 miles each day!
As far as we can tell, we will be the first to do this route and document it.
We are not athletes, and this trip will be very strenuous and intense which makes us both very nervous. However, if people must suffer through mental illness for a period of time, or lifelong then the least that we can do is suffer for 7 days. LET’S DO THIS!
Follow our Journey
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Where the money goes when donated to Hike for Mental Health
“Eighty percent of the hike donations provide grants that enable scientific research and fund programs aimed at alleviating suffering from mental illness. Every week, science yields a better understanding of and better treatments for mental illnesses. So much progress has been made. And yet, the work is not done while so many people and families still battle the diseases and the stigma. We work through the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and their outstanding NARSAD grants program as well as through our own programs to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Twenty percent of the hike donations support preservation of wilderness trails. It is our way of giving back to the people and organizations that make it possible for all of us to enjoy our time on wilderness trails. We partner with well-established trail maintenance organizations, such as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Pacific Crest Trail Association, to ensure the funds are spent responsibly.”
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.