Jonathan Maidment is going back on the trail, taking on the third jewel in the Triple Crown of Hiking to raise funds and awareness for Alpha 1 research.
This year, Maidment will hike the Continental Divide Trail, a 3,100-mile stretch along the Rocky Mountains, traversing Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. The feat will make him one of only about 600 hikers to attain the Triple Crown, which also includes the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and 2,184-mile Appalachian Trail (AT).
The 24-year-old was diagnosed with the rare, inherited lung disease when he was 10. He expects to begin his quest in late April, traveling from south to north. After flying from his home in Connecticut to New Mexico, he will travel the last few miles to the trailhead in an all-terrain vehicle because the site is too remote to be reached by car. He will carry a pack that ranges in weight from 30-37 pounds, depending on how much water he is toting.
“They say the CDT is a combination of the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coastal Trail,” he said. “It’s rugged and very steep at times, like the AT, but like the PCT in that it’s very remote.”
He’s been in touch with friends he met along the PCT and they are talking about hiking together through stretches of the CDT. Maidment will share his progress on the Hiking for a Cure Facebook page and Instagram.
His journey confirmed just how rare Alpha 1 is. Of the scores of people he met on the trail, 95% had never heard of the disease. A serendipitous exception was the grandson of Sandy Lindsey, a co-founder of the Alpha-1 Foundation. So far, Maidment has raised more than $200,000 for the Alpha-1 Foundation.
“We stayed up until midnight, talking,” he recalled.
Since he came home in October, Maidment has regained the 40 pounds he shed on his arduous journey.
“I eat whatever I want because I know I will lose it on the trail,” he said.
He triumphed over the PCT despite being hospitalized twice along the route. In 2004, as an Eagle Scout, he hiked the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine.
“I’m a Boy Scout forever. I don’t quit,” he said.