HHP 025: When Cancer is the Diagnosis, Go Hike the Pacific Crest Trail?

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

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Andy Lyon was diagnosed with Lymphoma when he was 18 years old. He went through chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant but then he decided he was done with traditional treatment. Andy decided to find his healing on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Andy has lost his battle
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with cancer, but he may have won his battle with life and living!  He took a non-traditional approach to his life and it is, in many ways, refreshing.  He loves the outdoors and chose not to have his quality of life compromised by the medical establishment.  Instead, he immersed himself in the surroundings he found most joyful, happy and satisfying.  To hear Andy’s story provides the impression that he was at peace.  His mother, Betsy Gosselin agreed to visit with us on the Hike Healthy Podcast and talk about the deep meaning Andy found through the great outdoors, hiking and the Pacific Crest Trail.  I think Andy’s message will resonate with many people who are struggling through challenges in their lives.

There’s a movie and a best-selling book out called Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. It chronicles the difficult life of Cheryl Strayed and includes her adventures on the Pacific Crest Trail. Like the Reese Witherspoon characterization of Cheryl Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Andy said he was hoping to find himself and make a connection with nature which would be therapeutic. Lyon said he “looked death in the face” and found it wasn’t that scary. So, he abandoned the doctor’s plans and set out on a through hike of the PCT from Mexico to Canada, on foot, with all his supplies on his back. It’s a 2600 mile + journey that usually takes at least 5 months. This is the same journey Aaron Ellig made and talked about in episode 22 of the Hike Healthy Podcast.

Andy Lyon’s story was very well chronicled in a recent issue of Backpacker magazine by writer Casey Lyons.IMG_3302 The story is detailed and the reader can almost feel the pain Lyon went through to complete this journey. At one point, near Yakima, Washington, Lyon’s leg was giving out and he checked into a hospital for some rescue medication. That’s where local tv station KIMA showed up and interviewed the determined young man. You can watch the story in the link above. The tv news story helps you get a sense of this gentle, well-grounded young man who seems to really have a good idea of what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, even though it may well be the last hike he ever takes on earth.


Andy’s blog which includes notes from his mother, Betsy Gosselin and an account of his Pacific Crest Trail hike.

 


Yakima Herald Republic article on Andy Lyon’s journey


 

Mary Oliver’s poem: Journey:  There is really only one life that you can save and that’s your own


 

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail (all pictures courtesy Betsy Gosselin)

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

Andy Lyon on the Pacific Crest Trail

 

 


 

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