Once again I’m leading HIKE For Mental Health’s annual hike at Pole Steeple in central Pennsylvania. On May 2 at ten AM we start up the trail to the rocky overlook, then down via the Appalachian Trail, and back to our parking lot on this loop of about 4.5 miles. HFMH is an all volunteer organization, with no paid staff, and all money raised is donated to mental health research and trail organizations. The specific breakdown of donations is 80 per cent to the Brain and Behavior Foundation for research, and 20 per cent to the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

Last year we raised over 300 dollars on this hike. I’m aiming for a thousand this year.

Group photo from last year's hike.

Group photo from last year’s hike.

And to make this more interesting I’m throwing out a challenge. If we raise a thousand dollars before the hike I’ll lead this trip dressed in a suit and bow tie. (I reserve the right to wear boots, however, since I doubt my wingtips will hold up on the AT.)

Come join us if you can, and donate if you can. There is no fundraising minimum to join the hike, but it would be nice if you could spread the word and help us out. Hike starts at the Pole Steeple trailhead parking lot on Laurel Lake at 10 AM. I’ll be there earlier, and hopefully be easy to spot as the only man wearing a suit.

BTW this is a very personal bit of advocacy on my part. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety all my life, and hiking and outdoor activity is one way I keep it in check. Also Pole Steeple was the first overlook I hiked up, and its always been special to me. My writing at A Taste For The Woods is my sharing a passion, and I’m leading this hike because I know what its like to be so far down you don’t think you can ever get up. I don’t want anyone ever to feel that way. I first hiked up Pole Steeple five years ago, and its ‘my mountain’, and I want everyone to feel as I did that day a half decade ago when I made it to the top.  So help me help HIKE For Mental Health, and come out and join us, or donate.

My first Pole Steeple hike, May 2010

My first Pole Steeple hike, May 2010