A quartet of Warrior Hikers will be hosted by local veterans Thursday night, adding another special moment to their Pacific Crest Trail trek.
A 2,600-mile expedition, all on foot, is undertaken each year by military veterans seeking spiritual healing of their wartime wounds. The journey begins at the Mexico border and has hikers traveling north until reaching their goal in Canada.
This year’s participants – Joseph Jamison of Colorado, Dan Janes of Iowa, Ruben Munoz of Florida and Jimmy Sellers – have been hosted at various stops along the way. Enumclaw Post 1949 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars honored the four hikers with a welcoming ceremony and potluck dinner at the Greenwater Community Center.
A similar event, also hosted by Post 1949, took place in 2014.
The four hikers, who have endured everything from snowy conditions in California’s Sierra Madre Mountains to the current summer heat, are in the final stretch of their journey. Plans call for them to be hosted Sept. 5 by the VFW post in Cle Elum and Sept. 10 by the VFW post in Cashmere before arriving Sept. 22 at their destination at Manning Park, B.C.
The Warrior Hike is an offshoot of Warrior Expeditions, which also promotes Warrior Bike and Warrior Paddle programs. All are designed to help combat veterans transition from military service to private life and are steeped in the therapeutic effects of long-distance, outdoor expeditions.
Warrior Expeditions was founded in 2012 by Sean Gobin, a direct beneficiary of a long-distance trek. After returning home from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he and a military buddy hiked the entire 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
The journey, spanning four and a half months, helped Gobin “walk off the war,” which has become a mantra for the program.
Warrior Hike is financially supported through donations and fundraisers.