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Twice each year, injured veterans are taken on a three-day hiking/camping trip on the Appalachian Trail. These trips are the ideal atmosphere for warriors to regain a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment and move forward in their recovery. Hiking approximately 10-15 miles per day over rocky and mountainous terrain, they are challenged both physically and mentally in a non-clinical atmosphere.
These are not formal retreats; rather, they are an opportunity to refresh and recharge in a relaxed environment mostly free from phones and the distractions of everyday life. Working as a team with little outside contact, many warriors find a new sense of confidence and a new support system with their fellow hikers - all while engaging in goal-setting activities along the way.
After our first of these outings, one of the participants was inspired to train and hiked half the Appalachian Trail this past spring, from Georgia to West Virginia, in order to bring awareness to those suffering from “invisible wounds” such as PTSD and Traumatic Brain injury, the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide ,and the mission of the Connected Warrior Foundation. He also raised money to support future hikes so that others may share in the same experiences he had.