I Hike for Mental Health:
This is my story: Flying Crow
I may not be a thru-hiker but someday I’d love to try. I started a couple years ago locally doing CT’s DEEP Sky’s the Limits Challenges, started looking for more challenging and rewarding experiences. My ex back in 2015 mentioned that she wanted to try hiking Mt. Washington. You know we need to work on it, train for it, and it’s not that you are hiking mountains everyday. So we worked hard together locally on Lantern Hill, Bluff Point, Mount Monadnock, until the day we all took on Mount Washington. I joined her, her son Shane, his Girlfriend Maggie, the wee mee’s and Hike for Mental Health to raise awareness around the stigma of mental illness, raise money for programs and research and to help with the preservation of the trails. I joined them for personal reasons of my own to help me through depression and daily stresses. I find that through hiking I can clear my mind, focus better, find a better appreciation of life, but also appreciation of the world we call home! This is what I do! I do it because I can! I will continue to push myself to do more and achieve greater goals! I decided that I would be the first in my family to do a long distance backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. I know now that this hike is not an easy task and going to take time but I know it is something I can do. Just one step in front of the other and keep pushing forward. I started my hike in 2017 in my Hike for Love campaign. In 2018 i decided to continue my backpacking the Appalachian Trail for Hike for Mental Health. This year I will be continuing my Journey. In addition to the Appalachian Trail I will be working on challenges.
I started my first sections of the hike from the summit of Bear Mountain, NY heading North on the Appalachian Trail to CT 44 Salisbury, CT.
Covered 102.5 miles.
I started my next sections of the hike from Salisbury, CT and made it Melville Nauheim Shelter Woodford, VT.
Covered 111 miles.
March 10th I started from Springer Mountain Summit(the southern terminus point on the Appalachian Trail) and work my way North! One section at a time!
Covered 66.8 miles.
I continued my journey on the AT/LT in Vermont from Bennington VT 9 to the VT / NH Line
Covered 136.0 miles
Hiked an additional mileage in starting from Tiorati Lake to Bear Mountain 10.6 miles and then started from NJ Warwick Turnpike up to Tiorati Lake 27.3 miles.
2019 I’ve hiked 240.7 miles!
March 1st through the 2nd I hiked 26.9 miles from Delaware Water Gap to Culver’s Gap.
Summer of 2020 I returned back to VT/NH line to hike up to Dartmouth Skyway. Covering 18.1 miles.
2020 I’ve hiked 45 miles!
Winter of 2021 March 4th I returned back to New Jersey with a goal to complete the last section to finish another state. Hiked from Culver’s Gap to the Liberty Loop Trail in Montague, NJ
Covered 27.2 miles.
March 29th I returned to finish the New Jersey Section of the Appalachian Trail from Liberty Loop Trail to Warwick Turnpike!
Covered 6.0 miles.
2017-2021 I have hiked 532.6 miles!
I finished my fifth state(NJ, NY, CT, MA, and VT) along the Appalachian Trail!
My goal was to complete 400 miles last year but didn’t it. Gonna keep going and do what I can!
This is far from any of my hikes that I have done in the past as it challenges me to navigate the trail which is very long and terrain can vary in difficulty while carrying 50lbs+ upon my back (food, shelter, clothing, emergency kits and other essentials to help me survive). I have great respect to my fellow brothers and sisters of the trail that do these long distances backpacking in the backcountry. Every month I will be planning and backpacking to reach my goal. I love and enjoy the challenge as well as the adventure.
I love the trail, the people, the experiences. Being on the Trail is not only good exercise but it also a challenge! One can learn a lot about the world around us but learn about ourselves. It challenges our physical, mental and spiritual being! Tests our ability to go the distance. No matter how far or how high. It’s just one foot in front of the other!
Happy Trails to all and Safe Travels!
Brandon “Flying Crow” Parenteau