Josh Garrett has successfully hiked over 1,300 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, marking the halfway point of his inspirational journey and putting him on pace to breaking the 64 day World Record.
Josh set off on his heroic hike on June 10th with the hopes of promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet and spread awareness for Mercy for Animals – a nonprofit organization advocating animal rights. After 31 days of non-stop hiking through California’s toughest terrains Josh doesn’t sound like he has any plan on slowing down.
“Physically I feel pretty strong. I am dealing with little things that pop up — a sore Achilles, some knee pain. But I think I can keep them in check, and overall I feel good.”
An impressive report considering the elements Josh has already conquered. From scorching hot desserts to steep mountain climbs, Josh has been hiking day and night through the wilderness, avoiding all of civilization.
“I want this record, not just for me but because I think it’ll help get the word out about the benefits of plant-based diets. I want to do everything I can to help the animals who are suffering so needlessly, on factory farms and in slaughterhouses.”
It seems as if Josh cares more about the animals than he does for his own self. Just two days into the trip, Josh became very ill and collapsed to the floor. Vomiting and feeling incapable of moving, Josh was suffering from a heatstroke.
A heatstroke can occur when the human body is dehydrated and exposed high heat over a long period of time, causing core body temperature to rise to some 105°F. In this state, the central nervous system begins to shut down and soon after, the entire body begins to shut down as well.
“That was about the worst day I ever went through. I wondered out loud to myself, as I collapsed in the desert, if this is what it felt like to die?”
Laying alone on the dessert floor, Josh had to use all of his remaining energy to power up his cell phone and call for help. After refusing to seek medical attention, Josh was rushed to a nearby hotel, laid into an ice bath and filled with the liters of fluids that his body so desperately needed.
More worried about falling behind than his own personal well being, Josh went back onto the trail after just one night of recovery.
“I made up the time over the next few weeks, learning that just about anything can be overcome.”
Only to prove this point, Josh spent the following sunday hiking to the 8,300 ft. tops of the San Bernardino Mountains, a feat would give the average man altitude sickness. Temperatures in the mountains drop to the mid 30’s at night, forcing Josh to adapt to a completely new environment, only to change completely again in the upcoming days.
Josh showed positive signs of mental strength as well, looking at the heatstroke incident as a positive experience. Without this night off the trail Josh might have never ran into hiker Delaware Dave.
“He was hiking with two girls and they had finished their rest, but while they went ahead he waited for me and hiked with me for a few hours because he could tell how down I was and he knew he could help me out. He reminded me that I don’t have to do this, but that I get to do this. He’s right. I am choosing to do this, choosing to walk these thousands of miles for the animals who cannot walk at all. His kindness touched me and I will remember it forever as one of my favorite parts of this journey.”
A few weeks after Josh ran into another hiker called Vittles. The two men quickly became close and ever started hiking the PCT together. It is unsure how long the two will hike together, but is a good lesson of the beauty that comes with good company.
Putting ones’ self at such physical and mental risk is a reflection of the power of the human mind. Where you can do anything if you truly believe it and have the willingness to take the first step.
With still over 1,300 miles remaining, Josh is currently alpine hiking through the beautiful Sierra Nevada. Home to breathtaking views casting out for miles over some of the best scenery our planet has to offer. Soon, Josh will have finished his California portion and will enter the state of Oregon. Through more rivers and forests, Josh will then reach the state of Washington where he will make his final trek to the Canadian finish line.
The Ski Channel will keep you posted with any updates on Josh’s heroic hike and as always, if you would like to show your support for Josh and the cause, we encourage you to visit http://MercyForAnimals.org/veganhiker and clicking “Sponsor Josh”.