Veterans are some our most honorable, courageous, and dedicated men and women, who sacrifice so much for our country. Their bravery and loyalty, despite the tragedies they endure is beyond commendable -- it is heroic. And while coming home is a day that soldiers and their families often dream of, transitioning from a world of war back to American culture can equally painful --something that most of us cannot even begin to understand.
But Sean Gobin understands. After returning home from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Sean Gobin sought out time in the wilderness to aide his healing, and hiked all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Recognizing the therapeutic effects of long distance hiking, Sean founded Warrior Expeditions, an organization that supports combat veterans transitioning from their military service by participating in long distance outdoor expeditions. This fantastic organization facilitates experiences in nature that help to guide these heroes home.
Sean wasn't the first to head for the A.T. as a way to find his way home from war. Earl Shaffer, the Appalachian Trail's first thru-hiker also found healing on the Appalachian Trail after time at war. In 1941, Earl Shaffer left for World War II, where he served with the Army Signal Corps in the South Pacific until he returned home in 1947. That next year, Earl told a friend he was going to “walk the war out of his system” to work the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. That following year, Earl Shaffer would become the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Earl would return to the trail to complete a southbound thru-hike in 1965 and walk the entire trail again in 1998 at the age of 8O to commemorate the 5O year anniversary of his initial trek.
Extended time in nature has long been sought out by those seeking healing, connection, and time away to find oneself amidst the chaos and confusion of life. After all, our physical, psychological, and spiritual health all have roots in the natural landscape. Nature has shaped our psyche – from evolution of neurological processes to the instinctive patterns of behavior that guide our daily lives. It is no wonder that when we feel lost, confused, and separated from our inner-most essence, that we head for the forests, mountains, and waters to find ourselves once again.
Please join us in supporting our returning Veterans and organizations like Warrior Expeditions by purchasing an A.T. Game between November 1O and 12th from our website. Get that holiday gift out of the way, or buy a game for a local Scout Troop! 2O% of your purchase between will go directly to Warrior Expeditions to support their 2O18 spring and summer excursions.