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Take a hike: Columns will follow men on a mission

By Staff | Apr 29, 2013

Andy Agnew, left, and Aaron Agnew, right pose at the top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine at the end of the Appalachian Trail.

My name is Aaron Agnew and I’m a resident of Keyser, West Virginia. In 2010, I took on a task that I wasn’t sure I would be able to complete – a task that would require more willpower and determination than any I had ever taken on before. It was a thru-hike of the 2,173 mile Appalachian Trail, a hike that over six-and-a-half months would change me and leave me looking for the next trail to conquer.

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from the border of California and Mexico, all the way into British Columbia, Canada. Spanning nearly 2,663 miles, it crosses desert, high elevation mountains, ancient volcanic ranges and rain forest. Of the fewer than 1,000 individuals who begin the trek each year, few will finish.

This is the trail my brother Andy and I chose to hike during the Spring and Summer of 2013.

Planning for a long distance thru-hike takes months. From saving enough of one’s already meager paycheck, to buying the appropriate gear, researching the trail, the towns along the trail, explaining to your friends and family that you won’t be carrying a rifle to fend off rattlesnakes, bears and wild men with strange mustaches, all the while maintaining a good physical condition is enough to keep anyone busy.

Countless hours are spent in simply weighing every piece of gear to be carried then trying to figure out how to reduce as much of that weight as possible. Thirty pounds may not seem like a lot until you have to carry it 20 miles everyday up mountains as high as 13,000 feet.

My brother and I are using the hike as a means of raising awareness to the efforts of the Faith in Action Food Pantry of Keyser. We will be posting weekly to our website www.pct4hunger.com and monthly through Graffiti. We hope that you will follow our trip. Feel free to stop by our website and say hello!