Dartmouth Family Raises Over $10K for Charity Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Two brothers from Dartmouth have completed what most only dream of doing: hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail.
In what's being dubbed "Hiking for Humanity," 19-year-old Andrew and 21-year-old Max Magalhaes raised $10,791.42 for those in great need. From Georgia to Maine, the duo hiked a total of 2,193 miles to give back to Missions For Humanity, a Christian non-profit.
The brothers attended Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth, where they got the idea from their teacher and MFH founder Kathy Crosson, raising money to provide medical, dental and any aid for people suffering in places such as Honduras and parts of Africa.
"It's always something I knew I wanted to do and enjoyed the idea of being in the woods for seven months at a time," Andrew said. "It's a sense of adventure, a call to the wild."
The hike that kicked off in Georgia and finished in Maine took five months and seven days. As kids, the brothers were both involved in Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts and it's safe to say their skills came to their advantage along the long trail.
"The most challenging part was certainly the bugs, stacked on bad weather, stacked on foot pain and problems and general boredom, but those are micro discomforts that we were able to overcome," Andrew said. "Once we got over the hump of the first half of the trail, it was motivation to keep pushing forward."
Crosson was a strong backbone for the brothers as they took on the elite Appalachian journey.
"She was unbelievably supportive and excited for us," Andrew said. "There was so much communication and teamwork going into the charity. She took care of a lot and put the word out there, forming incredible support from Bishop Stang and our family. We hit the ground running and even gained sponsorship from local churches who found out from Kathy. Word of us hiking for a great cause spread like wildfire."
Andrew and Max's 48 year-old father, John Magalhaes, was not only able to communicate with his sons via a trail-tracker app, but actually joined the duo for a whole week when they reached Vermont.
"I'm beyond proud of them and their adventurous feat," John said. "I really got to experience the hike firsthand from starting the day with wet clothes in the morning, eating out of tin cans, bracing for whatever weather came our way, and finally averaging 10 to 11 miles per day for a week straight. A week alone was challenging, never mind months.
"I'm now able to tell the story through my own experience on the trail. I knew what they went through and can attest that it's a living hell. You have to keep going, despite injury, weather, bugs, etcetera. Through thick and thin, they had to keep going to make it back just in time for Thanksgiving."
The father encouraged his boys to not only hike the Appalachian for a cause, but also to conquer goals and self-fulfillment.
"I've done three international missions -- Morocco, Bolivia, and Haiti -- for eye exams, so I respected their decision when they said they were embarking on a long and somewhat dangerous adventure," John said.
"Whatever you do in life, it's a story."