On Friday, I am heading to southern Virginia, to Damascus Trail Days to speak to fellow long distance hikers. Along the way, I am picking up Sean Reilly, best friend of fallen Airborne Ranger, Zach Adamson (see below). Together with Travis Johnston, another Airborne Ranger, we will talk about walking off war in a workshop, or NOT , in Zach’s case who thru-hiked last year, for a 2,150 mile hike did not quiet his soul. I will go on to hike with Travis & Sean all week and will hear their story, Zach’s story, all veterans’ story so I can write about it and share it with the world. THEN, on May 24th, we will join Zach’s family, whom Travis is flying in from Ohio, and Sean’s family, and climb up to Mc Afee Knob- Zach’s favorite spot on the whole trail- with his 125 pound memorial stone that Travis had made. They want to walk right in Zach’s footsteps, suffer for him, not take an easier parallel dirt road. Sean will be wearing his brother, Zach’s gear as he thru-hikes with Travis- all the sweat and body molecules of his best friend will be rubbing off onto his back as he carries his memory north. .. and I can’t tell you what an extreme privilege it is to be part of this, to be WELCOMED, to have these boys want to have Zach’s story told, in hopes of healing, in hopes that one more veteran does not feel he has no other choice but to take his life to quiet his soul. I hope and pray I can do Zach justice.
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