Sean had just returned from three combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He followed the footsteps of Earl Shaffer - the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (AT). Earl hit the Trail in 1948 to "walk off the war" hoping to delete the memories of war from his psyche.
Sean thru-hiked the AT, but he didn't stop there. He learned first-hand of the therapeutic value of long distance hiking and he saw how other veterans could walk off the remnants of their own wars.
The Department of Veteran Affairs that says over 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Almost three million veterans have returned home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) with little time to readapt to civilian life.
In the past, soldiers had a long journey home after fighting abroad. That gave them time to process and come to terms with their wartime experiences. Today, military personnel can find themselves home within a few days of serving in a combat zone.
Sean and his team at Warrior Hike give veterans participating in the "Walk Off the War" program a variety of support during and after their hike along a National Scenic Trail. Veterans have the opportunity to decompress from their military service and come to terms with their wartime experiences while learning to use the outdoors as an alternative form of therapy.
Walk Off The War Provisions
First, veterans receive the necessary equipment and supplies required to complete a thru-hike of a National Scenic Trail. Next, Warrior Hike coordinates trail town support with the numerous veteran organizations and local communities that are located along the National Scenic Trails. Trail town support includes transportation, food, and lodging in addition to providing the opportunity to socialize with veterans from past wars and local community groups.
Finally, Warrior Hike assists veterans with future employment opportunities offered by the numerous supporters of the "Walk Off The War" Program and by partnered veteran job placement companies and veteran hiring services.
Sean says Warrior Hike is currently accepting applications for the 2015 "Walk Off The War" Program, but not for long. If you are thinking about applying do not delay, soldier. Selections will be announced in December of 2014. Hikes - on several National Scenic Trails, not just the AT - will commence in the spring of 2015.
How to Apply for Walk Off The War Program
Who can apply: Any veteran who has served in a combat zone and who has been honorably discharged is qualified to participate in the Warrior Hike "Walk Off The War" Program.
How to apply: Click on the Warrior Hike Application link below and follow the instructions. If you have any questions about this application please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is provided: Veterans participating in the Warrior Hike "Walk Off The War" Program will receive the equipment and supplies required to complete a thru-hike, trail town support from veteran and community organizations located along the trail, and assistance with job placement opportunities upon completion of the hike.
Requirements: Veterans participating in the Warrior Hike "Walk Off The War" Program agree to follow a general schedule to the best of their ability. The purpose of the schedule is to allow the numerous organizations that will support the hike a chance to prepare and coordinate assistance.
If you don't need to walk off the war yourself, please consider a donation to Warrior Hike to help those who have valiantly served the United States of America.
Tags: Events, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, and Warrior Hike
The recruits for the 2015 Warrior Hike of the Appalachian Trail met on Springer Mtn on March 16, 2015. They hope to finish on 9/11 on Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Sean Gobin founded Warrior Hike in 2012 to help combat veterans "walk off the war" on the Appalachian Trail (and others) before returning to civilian life.
The best trail mix is healthy, tasty and beneficial. So is this Appalachian Trail advice that will inspire you and empower you to thrive the Trail.
Most of us will never thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. We can come pretty close, however, by reading these thru-hikers' tales.
Thinking about taking on the Appalachian Trail? Get the best advice anywhere! Read the 2012 Thru-Hikers' Tales from folks who gave it their best.
A great time was had by all who spent a few hours at Franklin, NC's 2013 April Fool's Trail Days. Here's proof.