by Lexi Kimmel ‘21
On August 10, Paint Branch Graduates Canyon Hunt (‘17) and Hannah Wood (‘17) set out on a mission to walk from Ocean Beach, California to Sunset Beach, North Carolina. They had been planning the trek since January. With a strong mindset and a bag full of supplies, they left California with one goal in mind- reaching the East Coast.
Hunt’s inspiration for his journey is a unique one, yet fairly simple. “I wanted a journey of a lifetime, just like Forrest Gump,” said Hunt.
Hunt has loved the story of Forrest Gump since he was a child, and this influenced his decision about living impulsively. In one scene of the film, Forrest Gump suddenly decides to start running across the country, with no supplies or plan of where to go. Hunt feels like people don’t take risks because of the fear of the unknown, and he hopes that his followers on Instagram decide to throw caution into the wind and live life to its fullest.
“We just walked across the desert of Nevada, with 70-100 mile stretches with no water sources or paved roads,” said Wood. They predicted the Mojave desert to be the hardest part of their trip, with temperatures reaching up to 100° Fahrenheit. After 43 days of constant heat, Wood and Hunt emerged and began to head towards Utah.
“I have learned that I often move too fast to actually stop and take in the scenery. I’ve learned the value of being patient to improve the quality of the experience,” said Wood. Both have learned many great lessons from their first 46 days, and hope to spread their revelations to the public and help their followers to enjoy life’s gifts. “Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. If you find one of your strengths, you can use it and do amazing things,” said Hunt.