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Sir-Hikes-a-Lot: Thru-Hiking 1,200 Miles on the PNT for Kids

Posted by Loren Drummond at Aug 26, 2014 06:25 PM |

Meet hiking hero, Erik Antonelli (aka Sir-Hikes-a-Lot), who is currently in the middle of hiking 1,200 miles of the rough and rugged Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) to raise funds for WTA’s Youth Program. It's a project he's dubbed Thru-Hiking for Kids.

Unless you first meet Erik Antonelli on the trail, you wouldn't necessarily guess that this gentle, soft-spoken hiker is capable of truly epic hiking feats. Until, that is, you get him talking trails or about the importance of getting youth outdoors. That's when you get a glimpse of the passion driving this everyday hiking hero to tackle trails with purpose. That's when you know you are taking to Sir Hikes-a-Lot.

Sir-Hikes-a-Lot: connecting trails and kids

If you've ever planned an overnight or backpacking trip using WTA's trip reports, then chances are you've probably encountered (and maybe even benefited) from the thousands of boot miles put in by Erik, perhaps better known as stand-out trip reporter Sir Hikes-a-Lot.

For years Erik has mapped out and connected routes over some of Washington's most beautiful and rugged terrain, faithfully reporting his trips in the hopes that it would inspire others to get out and explore for a day—or for ten.

And it has. Other hikers and trail runners (including WTA staffers) have admired and been inspired by his trips, and he's even helped fellow trail users plot out their own epic adventures.

An unbelievable 1,200 mile project on the Pacific Northwest Trail

Right now, Erik is combining his passion for hiking and for getting youth outdoors with a new epic adventure, one that has been years in the making.

Erik is currently in the middle of hiking 1,200 miles of the rough and rugged Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT) to raise funds for WTA’s Youth Program. It's a project he's dubbed Thru-Hiking for Kids.

Why is empowering and connecting youth to the outdoors so important?

"The natural world can foster growth: it inspires, it challenges and builds confidence, it empowers, it brings clarity, it helps kids gain perspective, and helps them understand that we, and everything, are interconnected," says Erik. "There is no better teaching ground than nature and what we learn out on the trail can be applied to everyday life."

WTA's Krista Dooley, manager of the Youth Program, says she's been inspired by Erik's commitment to youth. "It is so encouraging that outdoor enthusiasts like Erik recognize the work we do and support our efforts."

At the halfway mark: "nothing makes me feel more alive..."

Erik started his hike in Montana on August 14, and incredibly, is already halfway done. Over the weekend, he reported averaging somewhere between 35-40 miles per day, despite days of nonstop storms that have tested his mettle. In his last blog written from the Kettle Range, he says:

"As psychologically challenging as this weather is, I will not allow it to dampen my spirits. I'm having a blast and would have it no other way. The challenges one faces during a thru-hike is part of what brings me out again and again. Don't get me wrong, I'd take sunny and 65 any day, but nothing makes me feel more alive than dealing with the harshness that the natural world can provide."

He's also at the halfway mark for his fundraising goal, too, and hopes to have raised $5,000 for WTA's Youth Program when he steps off the trail and into the Pacific Ocean at Cape Alava.

Learn more about Erik, read his trail blog and donate to his project at thruhikingforkids.org.

The Kettle Range
A shot from Washington's Kettle Range along the PNT. Photo by Erik Antonelli/thruhikingforkids.org

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