Continental Divide Thru-Hike – A Journey For The Kids

what people have to say

I was on REI website cruise around and came across this other dude, I believe he was a park ranger and now a sales clerk with REI. Now I believe he is in Washington State. Some how your web page came up and I like your goal after retirement and wanted to help.



Hi Ken – Thanks for your note.  I found out about this through the towne courier.  My motivating factor is that enjoying the outdoors is extremely expensive!  I know I couldn’t do outdoors activity growing up because of its prohibitive expense.  I like your organization’s cause.You will be interested to know that I’m planning a ‘mostly’ cross country bike ride this coming summer.  I’d like to raise funds as well.  Perhaps for hunger groups or medical groups, or even something like yours. We’ll see if I can get organized enough to do so.  I’m a student as well, so too much going on.


Our son is a sophomore at State. My wife follows MSU on Facebook and found your info there. We have a daughter we sent to a wilderness program called Trails Carolina. She lost her way and needed more help than we could give her. She spent 76 days in the woods and emerged a changed person. She is now college bound with scholarship offers. Programs like Trails are very expensive. We’ve often thought about how many kids could turn their lives around if they could only get the help they needed. This is just our small way to try to help someone else out. We want to follow you on your journey through your blog. Best of luck to you and thank you for taking on such a noble pursuit.

Go Green!


I read about your trip in the LSJ. I love to hike too and know how being outdoors, on a hike expands my soul. Additionally, I have been a Big Brother before so I can appreciate the experience you are trying to bring to at risk youth.Additionally, I am turning 60 this year and have my own adventure ( much, much more modest!) planned- Half Dome in Yosemite.


I think what you’re doing is great, and though I’d never heard of the organization you’re supporting, it sounds like something right up my alley. I found out about it via Facebook post, I believe from the MSU Alumni Association (School of Forestry 2002 for me).  As for why, my wife and I have both been fortunate enough to be successful in life. We like to help out when we can, even if it’s just a little here and there. But specifically for this, I once planned on hiking the continental divide myself. I was in my early 20s and traveling around the country working in resort hotels. The winter before my trip is when I met my wife. Life just took me in a different direction after that (including becoming an MSU alum!). But the trek has always had a special place in my heart. I wish you all the best in this endeavor. Certainly, if you’re in need of assistance at some point, don’t hesitate to reach out. I don’t know how hardcore you’re planning, i.e. camping every day, or sometimes coming off the trail, but we happen to live in Fort Collins, CO. That’s too far off the trail to be of great interest, but I mention it because the Colorado Alumni Club is very active, so it may be worth reaching out to them. Perhaps you could coordinate a meet and greet, or fundraiser, or just a place to lay your head if needed, while you’re passing through. Chris


Hi Ken, your welcome about the donation. I did find out about you from Terri. We met when I started volunteering at K9 Stray Rescue in Oxford, Michigan. She is an enthusiastic and giving person! A great fund raiser and animal lover! I love to hike and walk K9 dogs at least 2 days per week to get them outside.I have always loved the outdoors and believe that it is important to have an ongoing connection with nature. I feel sad for those that never have the opportunity or exposure to the great outdoors. So I admire what you doing and look forward to your blog! Shine on!


As for how I heard about your adventure, I was at lunch with some friends and one of them, Terri Dodge, was talking about you.  I was in a conversation with someone else and only caught a few words of what she was saying, so I didn’t get any of the story at that time.  She then sent us all a link that directed me to your written story and your video.  As for the motivating factor to donate, I’d have to say that I loved the way you told the story of how your love of the outdoors was born and how you’ve shared that with your family.  You explained it in such a way that I could ‘feel’ how this has come to mean so much to you, and how you think these experiences can help others.


Make us proud Ken!  A true and heartwarming Spartan Saga in the works!



I have found your choice to take on the Continental Divide Trail to be truly inspiring.  They say that when you are connected to your passions, happiness is almost a given. I have no doubt that this adventure will bring much satisfaction to your life. The fact that you’ve connected this to a great cause, will only bring more positive things into the years ahead.

Your plans have also motivated me to start doing the kinds of things that enrich the soul. Thank you very much for showing me a better ‘trail map’ for what life can truly offer each of us.



I read the article in the Towne Courier about your plans to hike the entire Continental Divide Trail just as I was finishing Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild, about her hiking 1100 miles of the PCT.  Her book was infinitely more real than the movie, and gave me a pretty good feeling for what such a trek means.   I would love traverse the CDT in one-week stretches, and will start by whittling away at the parts going through New Mexico, where I’ll retire in a few years…  I had a chance to hike near the CDT in Montana in September, up to Headquarters Pass just west of Pine Butte, and it was one of the most spectacular hikes of my life.  So I’m jealous, though I know it will be a great physical feat for you as well as a joy to be immersed in wilderness for months!



One thought on “what people have to say

  1. Ken Layman

    Ken- Truly inspirational adventure and such a great cause !! I hope I’m in good enough shape at retirement to take on this challenge… Maybe you will be ready for another go at it by then ?
    Can’t wait to hear all the stories.

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