I #hikeOctober because hiking allows me to revisit my feelings of the past. When I am out in nature with the clean air and peaceful sounds, I can deal with issues that I can’t normally deal with in the city.
I grew up in a broken household, my father had problems with alcohol and left our family when I was 12. I lost that father figure to look up to, and many of life lessons that only a father and son share. I had to make a lot of decisions on my own, unfortunately most were not the right ones. I job hopped for many years. In 2001 my father died, and I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. I brought him with me — his ashes were in my pack the whole way.
I chatted often with him, and he helped me get thru a lot of rough days on the trail. In that time out in nature I was able to heal my soul. We both made it to the end, and I was able to say goodbye to him in my own way. I often think of him and my hike, and a smile comes to my face. The trail heals hearts.
This article is part of our #hikeOctober campaign to shed light on the stigma of mental illness and to promote the benefits of hiking. 100% of the funds raised from this campaign will be dedicated to alleviating the suffering of mental illness and to wilderness trail conservancy. If you would like to learn more or add you voice to our I #hikeOctober… series, please contact us.