2013 One Mountain At A Time
This year, to raise awareness and funds for the National Ataxia Foundation (NAF), I will be attempting what is called a “thru-hike” of the Pacific Crest Trail, more commonly known as the PCT. The PCT is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges to the east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail's southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, and its northern terminus on the U.S./Canada Border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia, Canada; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. The Trail is approximately 2,663 miles long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon-Washington border to 13,153 feet at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.
Why, you ask, am I willing to take on something like this? In part, it is because I love backpacking and want to experience the unique natural beauty that the PCT has to offer. The other, much more important reason, is to assist the NAF in its efforts to improve the lives of persons affected by ataxia through support, education, and research. In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) - at the time of the diagnosis, she was 72. She is now 78 and requires nursing care to assist her with daily activities. SCA is one of a group of genetic disorders characterized by slowly progressive incoordination of gait and is often associated with poor coordination of hands, speech, and eye movements. Frequently, atrophy of the cerebellum occurs, and different ataxias are known to affect different regions within the cerebellum. As with other forms of ataxia, SCA results in unsteady and clumsy motion of the body due to a failure of the fine coordination of muscle movements, along with other symptoms. My uncle has also been diagnosed with this affliction.
Seeing the decrease in my mother’s mobility over these last years has motivated me to take action in the NAF’s fight against ataxia. What better way than being able to combine my love of hiking with fundraising on behalf of the NAF!
Please join me on my journey from the deserts of southern California north to the Cascades of Washington State and into Canada. I will be keeping a journal along the way which can be found at:www.trailjournals.com/alanamoehlman or follow my journey on Facebook.
I am hoping I can count on your support! If you are interested in making a donation to the National Ataxia Foundation, please select the DONATE button on the right hand side of this page. You may also send a check, made payable to The National Ataxia Foundation, to 2600 Fernbrook Lane, Suite 119, Minneapolis, MN 55447-4752.What a difference we could make if everyone contributed one penny per PCT mile, amounting to $26.63 per individual contribution! Pass this information on to friends and family – get the word out!
Thanks so much for your consideration
The National Ataxia Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) tax ID #41-0832903