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Hike for a good cause

  • Nov 15, 2017

If you have fit friends, chances are they have asked you to sponsor a cause for which they are completing a physical challenge. Marathoners, in particular, often train and cover the 26.2 miles for charity. Some cyclists also like to raise funds to support or assist an organization However, raising money to be out in the great outdoors does not have to be limited to endurance sports alone. It is common for hikers to tackle distances for nonprofits, and you can easily get involved should you be interested in giving back.

Head across the country
You can trek across any distance to raise awareness of a cause about which you are passionate, but one hiker aims to cover the country. According to the Washington-based PT Leader, one man is in the process of reaching all four corners of the United States as part of his effort to call attention to post traumatic stress disorder. The  veteran plans to eventually walk 13,000 miles and at the time of the article, he had surpassed 4,000 miles. His goal is to make veterans and others attuned to signs of PTSD and how it can affect individuals, namely the high suicide rate associated with the condition. The hike will take a total of three and a half years, the source said, and this hiker currently makes it about 15 miles per day.

This example is extreme, as many people can't take nearly that much time away from work and from family for a long hike. You can, however, challenge yourself to go further than ever before all in the name of a good cause, training and planning a distance in a way that fits in with your schedule.

Plan everything, from the distance to the charity
Before you even start thinking about where you want to go, first select a recognized charity or nonprofit for which you want to hit the trails. The Trek suggested looking at websites like Hikefor.com, which suggests that if you are planning a big hike, you should register your efforts with an organization. You can search through a list of causes you wish to support, and connect with and give to other hikers planning events. Once you have selected the recipient of your funds, go ahead and plan a distance. If you are going to walk your furthest distance ever, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of a few friends, particularly if this is your first solo hike. Not only will you potentially raise more money, but you will also have companionship, which can help you to achieve your goals.

When deciding upon the distance and the trail, remember your limits and utilize your WSD Smart Outdoor Watch. You won't win any prizes for pushing yourself to the point of injury, so find something that you know will be a stretch, but won't put you out of commission for weeks after the hike.

Be smart about fundraising
To spread the word about your efforts, take to social media and enlist the help of friends, family and business associates. As Blue Ridge Hiking Company blogger Jennifer Pharr Davis put it, don't try and gather money on the trail. Not only is it too late by that point, but it can also place generous people in an awkward position if you ask for food or money at an establishment you come across while on your hike.

Additionally, the source noted, if you choose to join an established charity hike, you may have to pay an entry fee. This should not come out of the money that you raise, but you can expect to front the cash to participate. Budget accordingly and be realistic.

With a bit of advance planning and some determination, your next big hike can help out those in need. You don't have to travel thousands of miles to make a difference, especially if your heart and your energy are both in the right place.