Couple have their minds on epic trek

Phil and Gosia Wood, from Norwich, are preparing to walk the Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for

Phil and Gosia Wood, from Norwich, are preparing to walk the Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for mental health charity Mind. - Credit: Archant

A Norwich couple are strapping on their rucksacks to walk the longest hiking trail in the world.

Mr Wood, 34, and his wife Gosia, 35, plan to spend 155 days walking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which stretches from the Mexican border in California to Canada.

They are aiming to raise £2,650 – a pound for each mile of the journey – for the mental health charity Mind through the challenge.

Mr Wood said: 'Both my wife and I have friends who experience mental health problems. We want to raise awareness of mental health and supporting Mind enables an entire network of advice, support, and information.'

He said the trek would cover some stretches of more than 30 miles without water sources.

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'I think the biggest challenge will be keeping a positive outlook. It will really test our mental strength.'

Mr Wood normally works in consultancy and Mrs Wood is an event manager, but they have both left their jobs to go on the trek.

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Mrs Wood said: 'At first our friends and family were quite surprised and thought it would be unrealistic to hike that far.

'But the more they see how committed we are to the challenge, the more interested they've become.'

They have also had support from lower-limb treatment experts from the Norfolk Biomechanics Clinic, who will advise them via Skype during the journey, which starts in early May.

Vicky Urquhart, from Mind, said: 'Not only will be they be covering an amazing distance along the Pacific Crest Trail but money raised will fund our vital work including the Mind infoline, our advice services and the campaigning Mind does to secure a better deal for the one-in-four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.'

To donate to Mind through Mr and Mrs Wood's appeal visit

Following in famous footsteps

The Pacific Crest Trail was made famous by the 2014 film Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon (pictured), which featured a young woman making the epic trek on a quest of self-discovery.

Just like the film's protagonist, Mr Wood said he and his wife expected to face challenges including deep snow in the mountains, hot sun in the desert, and putting up with biting insects in forests.

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