Hiking for a Cause: PCT 2018 to Empower Girls in Nature

In 2016, I launched a fundraising campaign inviting my community to be a part of my pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail. Thanks to the generosity and encouragement of over 200 contributors, I was able to embark on the soul-searching journey of a lifetime.

Now, it’s time to repay the universe for the abundance I experienced when I committed to hiking the AT. I’m thrilled to announce that I will be hiking the PCT northbound in 2018 to raise money for girl empowerment in nature!

Specifically, I am looking to support nonprofits that are helping young people, especially young women, gain confidence in themselves and in the outdoors. For every mile I walk between Mexico and Canada, I am seeking sponsors who will commit to donating a certain amount per mile to this cause.

Nonprofit Recommendations?

Do you know of great organizations working to get young women outside?

If so, please message me at janelhealy.com or comment below! I would love to learn more about them.

What’s the Best Fundraising Platform?

For those of you who have hiked to raise money for causes before, I would love your advice!

  • What website platform did you use to fundraise for the nonprofit?
  • Does anyone know of a charitable fundraising platform that allows the user to donate to more than one nonprofit, or to select an organization to support from a short list? I would love to feature 3-4 inspiring nonprofits on the site, then let the donor choose which to sponsor.

Why This Matters To Me

Janel Healy

During my solo “flip-flop” through-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I experienced excruciating foot pain, mind-blowing sunsets, freezing hail that pelted my skin until it was raw, and powerful conversations with fellow hikers who also felt that they didn’t quite fit into mainstream society. I learned not to compare myself to others who were hiking faster or slower than me, and to be gentle but steady in my self-discipline. I learned how to reason with Fear in a way that those of us who are born female aren’t typically invited or socialized to.

I learned to sleep alone in the middle of the forest without getting scared and how to keep my cool during wild animal encounters. I learned to trust and listen to my instincts in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I learned to let go when things didn’t go my way and to accept whatever the trail had in store for me. I learned to accept what my body looks like and to understand that how my body feels is what really matters.

Long-distance hiking is one of the last semblances of the great Hero’s Journeys and rites of passage that have defined people’s lives for thousands of years. Humans are not meant to be sedentary or trapped behind computers and inside of offices, cars and isolated nuclear family households day in and day out. We are a migratory species. “We move, therefore we are.” (Take that, Descartes!) We are meant to be part of our ecosystems and the wider human experience in ways that have been all but lost.

In my experience, long periods of time spent moving through nature—both alone and surrounded by a tribe of people also experiencing the same forward momentum—is one of the most healing activities that modern people, especially women, can do to reconnect to themselves and to the planet.

For this reason, I am passionate about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 to raise awareness and funds for organizations that are empowering girls outdoors.

If you made it this far, you probably care about this cause. Thank you for your support and interest. Please scroll to the bottom of my website and click “Subscribe” to receive email updates, including an announcement when the fundraising platform goes live.

Let’s do this!

Janel Healy

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 1

  • ThruHikerWannaBe : Jul 25th

    One of the best girl empowerment organizations in the U.S. are the Girl Scouts.

    From their website: “[The] founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was a famous lover of nature. Today, Girl Scouts honors her legacy by promoting respect and love of the great outdoors far and wide. Through Girl Scouting, girls see the Earth as their home. Whether they’re learning about endangered wildlife, developing creative recycling projects, or working toward a grade-level award, girls focus on care, conservation, and responsibility. They make sure the beauty and wonder of our planet endure for future generations to enjoy.”

    Have a great hike!


What Do You Think?