Warrior Expeditions, originally named Warrior Hike, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans with PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This group was created by a combat veteran named Sean Gobin, who hiked the Appalachian Trail after separating from the Marines. Now, Gobin hiked the Appalachian Trail (along with a fellow veteran) because it was a dream of his. Plus, he wanted to raise money for disabled veterans.
But what happened during his 2,200-mile thru-hike ended up being something far more than achieving a dream and raising money for disabled veterans. That’s because Gobin discovered that long-distance hiking was very therapeutic in helping him cope with his PTSD. It was more therapeutic, in fact, than going to a counselor who had never experienced the horrors of war.
Why? Well, if Gobin felt like talking, he could chat with his buddy, who definitely understood war. And if Gobin wanted to remain quiet, even for hours at a time, his friend didn’t care. He could also lend his friend an ear.
Warrior Hike A Hit
With all of this positivity in his mind post-hike, Gobin created Warrior Hike. The idea behind this group was to help get other combat vets on various long-distance hiking trails. Then they, too, could heal their minds and bodies by being out in nature for weeks at a time. Luckily for all involved, the program was an instant hit.
Over the next few years, Warrior Hike continued to rise in popularity. But not all veterans enjoyed hiking. And others were physically unable to hike. So Gobin added biking and paddling to the mix and renamed his organization Warrior Expeditions.
Today, the program is thriving. More excursions are being added. And veterans are experiencing the blessings of a walk in the woods. Thank you, Sean Gobin!
P.S. I wrote my book Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail in part because a Warrior Hiker named Jenni Heisz agreed to share her story with me. Jenni was one of the first two veterans to hike the Ice Age Trail as part of the then-named Warrior Hike program.
Photos courtesy of Warrior Expeditions
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