Combat Veterans to thru hike the Continental Divide Trail

Starting at the US-Mexican Border in the Bootheel of New Mexico, six (6) Combat Veterans will begin a 6 month journey on April 12, 2014 to "walk off the war"along the Continental Divide Trail.


Hachita, New Mexico, United States – WEBWIRE – Monday, April 07, 2014
Hiker along the Continental Divide Trail in CO
Hiker along the Continental Divide Trail in CO

Combat Veterans Begin Six-Month WARRIOR HIKE to  “WALK OFF THE WAR”
on the Continental Divide Trail

Hachita, NM (April 7, 2014) – For the first time, the Warrior Hike Program will deploy 26 of America’s returning combat veterans in three teams to “Walk Off The War,” by thru-hiking the triple crown of America’s National Scenic Trails – the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest Trails. The veterans will use this six-month-long, 3000-plus-mile physical challenge to come to terms with their wartime experiences and reconnect to civilian life.

On April 12, at 1:00 p.m. in Hachita, NM, there will be a dedication ceremony hosted by the Continental Divide Trail Coalition and the Community of Hachita to commemorate the 6 veterans hiking the Continental Divide Trail this year.  The CDT Warrior Hike Team will begin their journey on Sunday, April 13 at the Crazy Cook Monument on the US - Mexico Border. The event will also honor local Trail resident and Trail angel, Sam Hughes, a WW II Veteran. Sam, who was the definition of a “Trail Angel”, was responsible for transporting many CDT travelers to the start and finish of their CDT journeys until he passed away in 2013. 

The A.T. Warrior Hike team of 14 veterans began its journey on March 17, and the PCT team will begin the hike of the Pacific Crest Trail on April 12, 2014 in Campo, CA.

The “Walk Off The War” Program provides participating combat veterans with the equipment and supplies required to complete a six-month thru-hike of a National Scenic Trail; coordinates trail town support in the forms of transportation, food, and lodging along the trails; and assists veterans with future employment opportunities through program partners and sponsors.

“Hiking over 3,000 miles during the course of six months gives a veteran an opportunity to decompress and come to terms with their wartime experiences,” says Warrior Hike Executive Director Sean Gobin, a former Marine Corps Captain. "The camaraderie that is shared between our combat veterans and the trail town communities helps facilitate their integration back into civilian life.  We are pleased to expand this opportunity through the help and support of Continental Divide Trail and our sponsor community.”

“The opportunity these long trails, like the Continental Divide Trail, provide to help healing not only our service men and women, but all people, is why these Trails were created. The CDT, like all of America’s long trails, provides an experience that allows someone to reconnect to themselves and to each other by traveling at a slow pace through nature and while traveling along one of our nation’s, if not world’s  most significant landscapes,” says Teresa Martinez, Executive Director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.  “It is an honor to partner with Warrior Hike and to be a part of the journey of not only our team, but, all of the people traveling on the CDT.” 

This year, researchers from Georgia Southern University will measure the benefits of the “Walk Off The War” Program to evaluate how a long-term wilderness experience affects the well-being of combat veterans. The goal of this research is to demonstrate that long-distance hiking can be used as an effective therapy to help veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Major sponsors for Warrior Hike are Ahnu Footwear, Big Agnes, Fujifilm, Salazon Chocolate, and Granite Gear.

In 1948, Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to “walk off the war” to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
 
About the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail was established by Congress as a National Scenic Trail in 1978.  When complete, the CDT will be the most significant trail system in the world. Stretching 3,100 miles along the backbone of America from Canada to Mexico, it accesses some of the most wild and scenic places left in the world while conserving the environment and promoting personal well-being.
 
About the Continental Divide Trail Coalition
CDTC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and management of CDT. The Continental Divide Trail Coalition mission is to create a community committed to constructing, promoting, and protecting, in perpetuity, the CDT, which stretches from Canada to Mexico, through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
 
For more information about the Continental Divide Trail, please visit www.continentaldividetrail.org.
For more about Warrior Hike, trail town events, and hike schedules, visit www.warriorhike.com. To learn how to support/attend a trail town event please email warriorhike@gmail.com .
 
The 2014 Warrior Hikers are:
Continental Divide Trail
 Name: Andrew Brennan
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Resides: Pittsburgh, PA
Service: United States Army
MOS: Black Hawk Pilot
Deployments: Afghanistan
 
Name: Thomas Gathman
Hometown: Lewisburg, PA
Resides: State College, PA
Service: United States Marine Corps
MOS: Infantry Rifleman
Deployments: Iraq
 
Name: Christopher Rickert
Hometown: New Holland, PA
Resides: Narvon, PA
Service: United States Marine Corps
MOS: Infantry Assaultman
Deployments: Afghanistan
Name: Ricky Davis
Hometown: Jacksonville, NC
Resides: Carolina Beach, NC
Service: United States Marine Corps
MOS: Infantry Machine Gunner
Deployments: Iraq, Afghanistan
 
Name: Shawn Murphy
Hometown: Toledo, OH
Resides: Auburn, WA
Service: United States Army
MOS: Military Police
Deployments: Korea
 
Name: Robert Voorhis
Hometown: Chenango Forks, NY
Resides: Reston, VA
Service: United States Marine Corps
MOS: Electronic Intelligence Intercept Operator
Deployments: Afghanistan 


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 Combat Veterans
 CDT
 Thru hiking
 Continental Divide Trail
 Walk off the war
Contact Information
Teresa Martinez
Director
Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Contact via E-mail


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