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His boots were made for walking: South Woodford man take on 3000 mile hike for charity

PUBLISHED: 11:25 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:45 22 June 2017

Joe Boot who will be following the Continental Divide in the United States for almost 3000 miles

Joe Boot who will be following the Continental Divide in the United States for almost 3000 miles

Archant

From the dusty plains of New Mexico to the snow-kissed mountains in Canada, a South Woodford man is walking 3,000 miles to raise money for a mental health charity.

Aptly-named Joe Boot, 23, who works at South Woodford Library, High Road, is taking a trip through five states, 25 forests and three national parks in aid of MQ, which carries out long-term research into depression, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

Along with his friend Joel Strickland, he will be taking on a hike that is attempted by less than 200 people per year.

“It is something that I have wanted to do for the last few years,” he

said.

“I am looking forward to being away from civilisation and remembering that life doesn’t have to be lived with the stresses of nine to five.

“It will be an amazing experience and great to raise money for a charity that funds ground-breaking research into mental health, looking for long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes.”

The friends will have to walk through land filled with coyotes, bears and the occasional mountain lion, and during parts of the trip they will be seven days away from the nearest town.

“My mum is a bit worried but I have tried to convince her that everything will be OK,” he added.

“I have bought a Spot GPS which has an SOS button to contact

emergency services and we will share our location every 10 minutes.”

Joe has taken unpaid leave

to complete his charity mission, which will take six months to finish.

He said the hardest thing about the challenge will be mental and physical fatigue, boredom and being in close quarters with just one person.

“We haven’t been on any practise walks but I have read lots of blogs about it,” added Joe.

“As long as you have a good level

of stamina you should be OK, but

we will go on a few walks beforehand.

“A lot of it is mental and most people quit due to this rather than the physical side of things.”

The pals are self-funding every aspect of the trip, including flights, visas, equipment, insurance and living costs, and all money raised will go directly to the charity.

Visit bit.ly/2lD23N6 to donate.


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