Reasons to Hike #2: Mental Recovery

Picture of a soldier in civilian apparel; military hiking bag, U.S. flag, military boots

Find your chill in the great outdoors

A soldier named Earl Shaffer hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, with a different kind of mission: overcoming his own PTSD from fighting in World War 2. Inspired by this journey, Sean Gobin undertook the same trek himself. After the experience, which helped him stabilize his own mental issues, Gobin created an organization called Warrior Expeditions and offered the “Warrior Hike” program as a way to help veterans with adjusting to civilian life after returning from military service.

Participants in the program are paired with other veterans who have experience decompressing from military life. They share stories about the military, adjusting to civilian life and mental struggles. After spending several months outdoors, hopefully the veterans have found the means to deal with their mental obstacles or at least recognize the need for further psychological assistance.

Warrior Expeditions utilizes the following trails for their program:

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Arizona Trail
  • Buckeye Trail
  • Continental Divide Trail
  • Florida Trail
  • Ice Age Trail
  • Mississippi River
  • Pacific Crest Trail
  • Trans America Trail

Science supports the mental health benefits of outdoor hiking. WebMD published an article about a study of backpackers who scored 50% higher on a creativity test. Another institution published an article about another phenomena called “biophilia” which determined that a discord from nature led to negative effects.

Warrior Expeditions arrived at a unique concept for helping veterans adjust to civilian life. You can visit their website to learn how you can donate and contribute to this organization.

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