WINDHAM, N.Y. – The Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) hosted its eighth and final Warriors in Motion® (WIM) summer program this week, as it welcomed seven wounded veterans to Windham for three days of hiking in the Northern Catskill Mountains from September 19-21.
“Hiking up here, I loved it,” United States Army veteran Ryan Pearson shared after his experience this week. “This program is creating more of an outlet for me than I used to be able to do. It gives me the encouragement to keep moving, keep doing things and to keep coming back.”
The seven warriors arrived at the Gwen Allard Adaptive Sports Center on Tuesday afternoon, where they met with the ASF staff and volunteers and were greeted to lunch. After their meal, program manager Tony Vasile went over the basics of hiking, including the Leave No Trace guidelines that help hikers understand how to preserve nature. The WIM participants then entered the ASF shuttle bus and headed to West Kill, N.Y. to hike up to Diamond Notch Falls. Tuesday’s hike was a nice warm up, as the veterans trekked 1.5 miles to the falls and back in the Hunter-West Kill Wilderness. When the group returned to Windham, they then checked into their hotels and relaxed for a bit before enjoying a catered dinner at the ASF lodge.
Wednesday’s hike took the warriors and volunteers to nearby Haines Falls, N.Y. where they trekked up to Inspiration Point on the Escarpment Trail. The hikers saw Kaaterskill Falls, Layman’s Monument and enjoyed the late summer/early autumn changes in nature. They eventually reached the beautiful viewing point and rested to enjoy lunch looking across Kaaterskill Clove toward Kaaterskill High Peak and Hunter Mountain in the distance. After a brief meditation period, the WIM group ventured back down the mountain and returned to the shuttle bus, completing the 3.5-mile hike. Before heading back to Windham, the group stopped at Stewart’s Shops for ice cream and milkshakes. Once back in their hotels, some warriors rested while others walked the Windham Path before returning to the ASF lodge for another dinner.
The warriors spent Thursday morning in Prattsville hiking up to Pratt Rock, which features some of the most spectacular views in the area as well as intricate stone carvings along the trail that depict the life of Zadock Pratt, the town’s founder.
“The best part of all of this is seeing new people, seeing some of the regulars and hanging out with the staff,” Pearson said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
The ASF’s Warriors in Motion program provides participating injured United States servicemen and women with a basic knowledge and practice of wellness and the importance of lifelong healthy living. All WIM programs are goal-oriented and empower the warrior to take charge of their own fitness and wellness.
This was the final WIM event of the summer season. The next time the ASF will welcome its Warriors in Motion will be for the Bob Stubbs Warriors in Motion Winter Sports Weekend, occurring February 1-4, where the warriors will be able to invite their families with them to learn how to ski and snowboard.
Warriors in Motion is funded by donations that were generously given to the Adaptive Sports Foundation. Thanks to these donations, the Adaptive Sports Foundation can provide participants with equipment, water bottles, all meals, snacks, water, sports drinks, sunscreen, bug spray and ponchos (if necessary).
If you’d like to donate to the Adaptive Sports Foundation’s Warriors in Motion program, or any of the other programs the ASF has to offer, click here.
Hear from ASF Warriors Melissa and Ryan as they discuss their experience this week!