Tonight just before 9 p.m. Pacific time, vegan hiker Josh Garrett set a new record for thru-hiking the grueling 2,655-mile Pacific Crest Trail, with an official time of 59 days, 8 hours, 59 minutes – smashing the record of 64 days, 11 hours, and 19 minutes set by Scott Williamson in 2011.
Garrett, 30, a track coach and exercise physiology instructor at Santa Monica College, carried more than a backpack on the trail from the border of Mexico to Canada – he carried a message about the plight of animals used in the food industry. Since his departure June 10, Garrett has raised awareness and funds for Mercy For Animals, a national nonprofit working to prevent cruelty to farmed animals and promote compassionate food choices and policies.
“I’m vegan because I love animals, and they suffer so needlessly on factory farms and slaughterhouses, when a vegan diet provides everything we need for good health, strength, and endurance,” he said. “As much as I would have enjoyed taking my time on this hike, I wanted to be a good example and make a point.”
Garrett averaged an astonishing 44.7 miles per day on his trek, covering terrain ranging from the blazing hot Mojave and Anzo Borrego Deserts, where daytime highs exceeded 110 degrees in mid-June, to the steep Sierra Nevadas and Cascades of the Pacific Northwest.
“Josh is not only a very nice person, but is also the strongest hiker I have ever had the privilege to hike with,” said Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who personally provided Garrett with hiking gear, food, and water. “Now we see this absolutely extraordinary accomplishment, by an extraordinary man. To hike the entire trail in less than two months is something no one had ever accomplished before this summer. I am so very proud of Josh.”
“When it comes to helping animals, Josh doesn’t just talk the talk, he literally walks the walk,” said Mercy For Animals executive director Nathan Runkle. “Fueled by plants and compassion, Josh’s selfless journey inspires all of us to take steps in their own lives to help prevent the horrible suffering of animals on factory farms by adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet.”
For more information, or to support Garrett’s effort for Mercy For Animals, visit MercyForAnimals.org/VeganHiker.
Image courtesy Mercy for Animals