Hiking 2,665 miles for a cause
Sarah Marble ’16 will hike the Pacific Crest Trail after graduation to raise money for wounded veterans.
I’m graduating on June 11 and what I’m most excited about isn’t a summer off lounging by the pool or the excitement of starting my first real job out of college. I’m going on a long, long hike to raise money for wounded veterans and I can’t wait to get started.
On June 19th I’ll be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and hope to finish by November 1st. The trail is 2,665 miles and spans the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. I won’t be going it alone. Thomas Wheeler, also a senior at Santa Clara University about to graduate, is a pretty avid hiker will help me along the way. Right after graduation is the most freedom I’ll have in a long time so I’m seizing the opportunity.
I'm linking the hike to the Travis Mills Foundation. Travis Mills is one of the five surviving quadriplegics from the War in Iraq and Afghanistan. The goal of the foundation is to help veterans wounded in war to heal and recover. They're trying to build a retreat where these wounded soldiers can go and basically relearn how to live life with their injury. So they'll do things like teach someone who lost their leg how to hike again and to help their families learn how to be supportive and help as well. I wanted to link the hike to a charity to give the experience meaning and purpose beyond myself.
I know that it will be really encouraging on the days where I'm particularly sore or cold to have something more than myself to motivate me-to think that the mile I walk could be buying a soldier lunch, or the 25 miles we do in a day could maybe buy a piece of a equipment they need. I chose this charity because I eventually want to be an Ob-Gyn in the army. This charity incorporated the healing aspect that makes me love medicine as well as supported soldiers who have made huge sacrifices for all of our sake. I think it would be incredible if I could get up to $5 per mile. That would be $13,325 total. I feel like that would be a number where every mile would really be making a difference. This is a pretty lofty goal, but a girl can dream, right? In the end, anything helps. I'm currently up to $7,595.25 total right now.
We’re starting in Beldon and hiking to the Canadian border, then driving back down to Beldon and finishing south to the Mexican border. We're still doing the whole thing at once, but this route gives the Cascades time to melt, the Sierras time to melt, and the desert time to cool down. It will also allow us to move a little faster too, which is really important for us because I’m on a bit of a time crunch since I’m in ROTC and will have to start going to drill for the Army Reserves the first weekend of November. We pretty much have all our gear ready to go, we just have to organize our food into boxes and address them for where they should be shipped for resupply. This experience will, hopefully, give back to the community of wounded veterans and also give me a life-changing experience that will help me lead a more intentional life.
I'm fundraising through the online forum hikefor.com, where people can donate through my personal link. I'm also using this site as my blog where donors can receive email updates on my progress. I’ve also got more information for anyone interested in me and the Travis Mill Foundation through my Facebook page.
Sarah Marble is a senior majoring in public health with a minor in biology. Marble grew up in Sequim, WA on the Olympic peninsula surrounded by the beautiful nature of the northern portions of the Pacific Crest Trail.