72 minutes | Aug 12th 2020

8. Will "Akuna" Robinson

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Learn more about Akuna on his brand new website www.akunahikes.com and follow Akuna on Instagram to catch a glimpse of his latest adventures. Remember, podcast listeners can get UP TO 50% OFF ON A GAIA GPS MEMBERSHIP!Episode Highlights 3:50: Akuna describes his upbringing living in Germany as a military kid and coming back to New Orleans. 6:30: Racism is real; it is not a made up thing. 7:05: Akuna did not grow up backpacking and camping, but enjoyed being outside as a kid.8:45: Akuna’s dad told him that joining the military was out of the question.9:15: An Army recruitment officer diverted Akuna from going down the wrong path in 1999 when he was a young man.11:10: Akuna served in Iraq and was medically evacuated and sent home to New Orleans.13:45: Upon returning home, Akuna underwent a number of surgeries and struggled with PTSD.18:20: The military was not yet prepared to addressed the number of soldiers coming home with PTSD. 18:30: Akuna fell into a downward spiral, getting worse and worse. His room at home became a prison and he withdrew from social interactions.20:00: Akuna knew he had to do something drastic to get out of this situation. 20:20: He looked up at the TV and saw the movie “Wild” and it inspired him to hit the Pacific Crest Trail.21:20: Akuna thought “this is where I need to be” and two weeks later he was in Campo ready to start the trail. 24:30: Social interaction is the best part of Akuna’s thru-hiking experience. 27:15: Learn how Akuna earned his trail name. 28:20: Akuna loves the desert section of the PCT. 30:35: How thru-hiking helped alleviate Akuna’s PTSD and Depression symptoms. 39:00 Akuna is dealing with injuries on the PCT and has to leave the trail. 45:00: Akuna comes back and completes the PCT and goes on to nab the AT and CDT, becoming the first Black man to complete the Triple Crown. 48:00: Akuna shares his experience on each of the three trails and the benefits of each. 51:03: Akuna inadvertently completed the Triple Crown. 54:10: Akuna is proud to be first Black man to achieving the Triple Crown because it provides an example to other people of color that they can complete the trails too.55:40: The community response to his Triple Crown achievement was overwhelming. 56:00: Akuna is sponsored by Merrell. 57:00: Since George Floyd’s murder, Akuna and other Black and BIPOC athlete’s phones have been ringing off the hook.59:00: Akuna’s advice on how hikers and outdoor brands can be better allies to people of color in the outdoors.1:04:10: Akuna took a mental health break from social media recently.1:05:00: What’s on Akuna’s bucket list of hikes? You will NEVER guess.1:08:05: Favorite trail town food: milkshakes. 1:09:00: Shout out to Erick Schat’s Bakery in Bishop, California, Akuna’s favorite trail town stop.
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