Marsh Hikes to bring awareness to charity
Cody Marsh grew up surrounded and enamored with nature.
“I’ve lived in national parks all of my life,” he said.
Since settling in Shepherdstown in 2004 with his parents, who both worked for the National Park Service, Cody has explored any hills, hollows and trails the local area has to offer, pushing himself with each new adventure.
On August 6, Marsh plans to face what he’s calling his greatest challenge yet for a cause that he thinks needs more attention.
The 20 year-old Shepherdstown resident and Shepherd University student, will hike the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park in an effort to bring awareness to the plight of Central African people and promote his “Moving Mountains” organization.
After encountering news of the what he described as the suffering being experienced by Central African people at the hands of the Kony Regime, Marsh said he felt called to turn one of his favorite past times into something more.
Marsh was moved after watching the movie, “Machine Gun Preacher,” which he said gave him a new look at what the people of Central Africa experience.
According to his mission statement, Marsh hopes to raise funds to benefit the “Invisible Children’ organization, which has been working in response to alleged “crimes against humanity” attributed to Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army.
The L.R.A. stands accused of abducting children to be used as child soldiers and is linked to various human rights abuses and war crimes in the Central African region.
Marsh said he watched Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video, best known for the internet sensation it caused after it went viral earlier this year, and he said he put two and two together.
“I felt guilty not knowing what was going on earlier,” he said.
Marsh’s journey, which he said is being sponsored in part by local business, Two Rivers Tread will encompass 20 days of uphill hiking.
He said he plans to travel 15 to 20 miles a day for 211 miles total, across more than 80,000 feet of elevation.
Marsh’s goal is to reach the top of Mt. Whitney, which sits at more than 14,000 feet.
To prepare Marsh trains six days a week on local trails that he said can’t compare to the challenge Mt. Whitney will be.
In the spirit of Two Rivers Treads’ minimalist or natural approach to running, Marsh will attempt to complete the hike barefoot, though he contends this won’t be his great challenge.
Marsh said the last 11 miles of Mt. Whitney, which require climbing 10,000 feet, are the most difficult and the changes in altitude will be his biggest concern.
Though this is Marsh’s fourth trip to Yosemite, this will be his first time hiking any trail solo and the longest trail he’s ever walked.
“It’s a big challenge for me,” he said of doing the hike alone.
Marsh said that when he returns he wants to make “Moving Mountains” a program or platform for other projects or “change” efforts. He also said he hopes that “Moving Mountains” will one day become an official 501c3 nonprofit that can benefit a range of causes.
Though Marsh said he struggled with the controversy that’s surrounded the Invisible Children organization more recently, he still believes that the organization is making the greatest effort to help the people of Central Africa.
“Their money goes to the right place in my opinion,” he said.
Marsh is asking for any and all donations, though specific donations can be pledged for each day he walks. To become a sponsor or learn more about “Moving Mountains” visit www.moving-mountians.posterous.com or call 304-839-7748. To learn more about Invisible Children visit www.invisiblechildren.com.