After walking 2,190 miles, 14 states, and countless mountains and valleys, Sean and I have successfully completed the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. It is impossible to concisely summarize an adventure that involved feelings that ranged from the heart soaring to the tearfully nearly defeated. It would take as many days and as many steps to try and explain what the trail is truly like for us. It was nearly six months of experiences and memories that we will always cherish. Therefore, we feel incredibly privileged and lucky to have been able to experience it. Recognizing our own good fortune is part of the reason we wanted to include CHaD in our hike. To be able to do something for others, especially an organization like CHaD, brought meaning and purpose to our hike that would have been lacking otherwise.
While hiking we were made incredibly aware of the importance of health. Our bodies dictated what we were able to accomplish on a daily basis. We were demanding a high level of physical exertion daily, and to do that we had to listen to our bodies. For instance, coming into Troutville, Virginia, Sean felt the twinge of an old injury in his ankle tendons. We immediately found a place to stay and let him have time off of his feet in order to let it heal. Taking a small time off would allow us to be able to continue in the long run. Taking care of our health needed to be a priority in order for us to accomplish our goals. So daily, we were reminded of our bodies and our state of health. Therefore, trying to raise money for a charity that was concerned with children’s health was important to us. Children’s health is a foundation that allows others to be able to experience things like the trail, or give them other opportunities to be able to accomplish whatever goal is important to them. We like that CHaD works with families of children who are in for long term care and short term as well. They help children from all over New England be able to have the chance to achieve their dreams. Therefore, it was a privilege working with them while we were achieving a dream of our own.
Additionally, CHaD is very close to Hannah’s heart. She grew up in the Upper Valley in a family that has been in the area for generations. Her grandfather, Dr. Bob Storrs was a pediatrician in Etna and Hanover and knew how important children’s healthcare is. Both her grandfather and his cousin Phoebe Stebbins made a powerful impact on their descendants. She grew up with stories of their kindness, strength and generosity. Their memory still keeps alive the importance of being part of a community and helping institutions like CHaD – who time after time positively affect people’s lives
There were days on the trail where we felt very low and questioned the importance of continuing. Don’t worry, these were incredibly rare; most of the time we could stand on top of mountains and feel like anything was possible. Having a reason to walk forward every day, other than ourselves, was an important aspect of the hike for us. Hiking for CHaD added a depth and significance to what we were doing. We were able to have this incredible experience and be able to feel that we were also doing good for others. Both Sean and I feel like it is important to think of others even while thinking about our own goals and aspirations. Therefore, working with CHaD was a way of making our Appalachian Trail hike, which was wonderful, even greater. It was such a positive experience for us that we hope we can help in the future as well!
Channel your inner AT hiker and take part in the new and improved CHaD HERO hike course. The new course offers a 5 or 7 mile hike through downtown Hanover leading into Mink Brook Preserve and the River Trail. Click here to register and learn more.