Combat Veterans on a Six-Month WARRIOR HIKE on the Continental Divide Trail to “WALK OFF THE WAR“ entering Colorado June 15, 2014


Pine, Colorado USA – WEBWIRE – Friday, June 13, 2014

Tom “Jabba” Gathman, one of the CDT Warrior Hikers is excited about everything that lies ahead in Colorado, especially the amount of water, “ even if it is in the form of several feet of snow….its just another obstacle thrown at us by the CDT.”

On April 13, 2014, 6 Combat Veterans began a 6 month long journey as part of the Warrior Hike Program to “Walk Off The War,” by thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail. 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.

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.

The 2014 CDT Warrior Hike Team began their journey early on April 13 at the Crazy Cook Monument on the US - Mexico Border. In their first months, the Team has already faced a few challenges including high desert winds, lack of water, blistered feet, injuries, and simply the challenges of adjusting to constantly changing conditions along the Great Divide. Along the way they have experienced the kindness of strangers, the support of the veterans associations, and of course, getting to know their fellow CDT thru hikers.  

Tom “Jabba” Gathman, one of the CDT Warrior Hikers  is excited about everything that lies ahead in Colorado, especially the amount of water, “ even if it is in the form of several feet of snow….its just another obstacle thrown at us by the CDT.”

“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.”

“The opportunity the Continental Divide Trail provides to help healing not only our service men and women, but anyone, 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, most significant landscapes,” says Teresa Martinez, Executive Director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.  “It is an honor to be partnering with Warrior Hike and to be a part of the journey of not only our team of 6 hikers, but, all of the people traveling on the CDT. We hope this program will showcase the importance of these Trails and encourage more people to experience them.”

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.

Town stops along the way in Colorado include Cumbres Pass, Pagosa Springs, Lake City, Salida, Leadville, Breckenridge,Herman Gulch Trailhead,Grand Lake, Steamboat Springs, and then Encampment,WY.
 
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. Colorado hosts 800 miles of the 3,100 mile long Trail.
 
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.


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 Combat Veterans
 Thru Hiking
 PTSD
 triple crown
 Continental Divide
Contact Information
Teresa Martinez
Director- CDTC
Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Contact via E-mail


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