Last weekend, we volunteered at the Nearly Naked Ruck March here in Duluth. The event is hosted by the 23rd Veteran, an organization in Northern Minnesota that works to help veterans with PTSD lead successful civilian lives.
During the event, participants carried one pound of weight for every $10 they raised for the organization. The weight is meant to symbolize the weight combat veterans carry with them into civilian life. Due to the weight on their back, many participants wear just long underwear, hence the name of the event. They walk ten miles along the Lakewalk in Duluth, with an option to carry canned food as weight and donate them at the end to the local food shelf.
Cooper and I were asked to come near the end of the event, so we only watched a few people finish before we helped break down the warming tents. The few participants we did see had chosen to wear their weight, covering themselves head to toe in all the clothing they had. I tried to envision walking ten miles with five pairs of pants, a handful of shirts, and three coats, something that seems so uncomfortable but probably helped a lot as the cold Lake Superior air followed the participants.
We had a great time talking with the event coordinators and learning about what all they do to help support veterans in Minnesota, and it was nice to be outside working with our hands for a change. Neither of us have had a lot of experience working with veterans or organizations that support veterans, so it was nice to give our time to a new cause that is close to many people in our lives.
We volunteered at the Nearly Naked Ruck March in honor of James and Naomi McCormick. With their donation, we’ll be able to purchase all of the fuel canisters we need from Campo to Monument 78 to help us make our one warm meal a day. Thank you, James and Naomi!
On a separate note, we recently received some exciting news that I had been accepted as a guest blogger for Thetrek.co! This website has a ton of information about thru hiking the PCT or AT, and has a community of guest bloggers who help fuel the content. I’ll be writing about my experience on the trail and using that platform as my primary blog. We’ll post another update about how to connect with my blog articles through their site later.