A message from FiltersFast.com’s Founder & CEO, Ray Scardigno:
Thank you so much for your support of my Xtreme Hike to raise money and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation! Your support is critical to help buy the science needed to find a cure and make CF stand for Cure Found!!!
When I first attended an Xtreme Hike back in 2012, I had no personal connection to Cystic Fibrosis. I loved hiking and am always looking for crazy challenges, so I gave it a try. In the 10 years and 12 Xtreme Hikes since then, I have watched the funds we raise have a direct impact on so many people.
There is Caroline, who is now a young teenager that plans on being an Astro Botanist, and Russ, who is in his 60s, whom I had the honor of hiking with this past weekend. He has CF, has had a double lung transplant, and is able to complete this insane challenge thanks to your donations and the science that it buys!
This hike was a very challenging section of the trail where we logged around 6,500 feet of elevation gain in over 31 miles!
My adventure started out on a bad note a couple of days prior to the planned Friday arrival in Cherokee, NC. I started to not feel well Thursday morning and the feeling progressed to the point that I couldn’t even sleep Thursday night. I thought for sure I would have to miss the hike! Two negative Covid tests, a few power naps, and an insane amount of water brought me to a place where I felt well enough to give it a try! I had already missed the hotel check-in and pre-hike carb load dinner so the only way to make it work was to drive straight to the starting point. The hike starts at 4 AM in the dark, so I packed up and left home just after midnight to meet the group at 4AM.
Once on the trail, I felt good and started putting one foot in front of the other as I was putting the miles behind me. The weather was perfect in the morning. Clear and around 50 degrees until the sun rose. The temperature became a challenge in the later sections when it hit 75 degrees and was sunny which is very, very hot while climbing up exposed mountains! Lots of water and electrolytes were needed to keep healthy and hydrated. The views were absolutely incredible for so much of this hike! Some sections were on a very thin ridgeline with amazing views in all directions.
One of my favorite parts of spring hiking on the Appalachian Trail is talking to the many through-hikers that set out from Georgia and are on their way to Maine. I love to hear their stories and ask for their feedback and advice. This year was no exception as I met so many amazing people that had set out on that incredible journey. They too take inspiration from the Xtreme Hike group and many make donations (some in cash on the spot and others at a future in town stop that they make).
By the time we hit the final section of the trail, my body was shot. Two nights without sleep, 24+ miles, the very difficult and technical section of trail, hot and sunny conditions had all taken their toll. It is now mind over matter and what better motivator than to know why you are on the trail and who you are continuing to take those steps for. Those with CF have challenges every single day that most of us would never understand. I can surely push myself through a few more hours to the finish line to help them get to their finish line of Cure Found!
Fourteen hours after we set off on the trail, we made our way into the Nantahala Outdoor Center, our finish line! Pizza and beer never tasted so good! There are so many stories of trail magic to tell from an adventure like this that I think you could write a book. How an Xtreme Hiker was gifted a guitar by a through hiker, how an Xtreme Hiker family setup a surprise aid station with amazing snacks to give us a boost when we needed it most, how several through hikers dropped everything and came to the assistance of an Xtreme Hiker that was injured. The list goes on and on. A truly amazing experience for an even more amazing cause. Your donations help us buy the science and raise the awareness needed to help get those with CF to the finish line with us. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
EcoBlueLife.com is a replacement water and air filter company located in the United States. The views and opinions contained herein are solely those of the original author and do not represent Eco Blue Life or its affiliates. This article was originally published on FiltersFast.com