Cory Amante, a 27-year-old Temecula resident, recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile trek between the Mexican and Canadian borders. (Photo courtesy of Cory Amante)
Inspiration struck Cory Amante about eight years ago on a family vacation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
While taking a day hike in Yosemite, the Temecula man came across a group of guys covered in dirt who looked to be in pain but were still laughing. Amante talked to them and discovered they were hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile path that goes between the Mexican and Canadian borders.
“I said, ‘One day I would love to do that,’” he said. “It was kind of a dream until a couple of years ago when I said, ‘This is something I can make happen.’”
Before he hit the trail April 3, the longest hike Amante, who has always had a fondness for adventure and a challenge, had taken was 40 miles. He spent two years conducting research and getting the necessary gear together for his trip.
The 27-year-old health and life insurance broker set out on the five-month hike alone in April, but met people from all over the world on the same journey, many he now calls friends.
He saw wildlife – including a bear and a bald eagle. He also braved the elements and was forced to backtrack 30 miles when a nasty snow storm hit while he was trekking through the high Sierras. Amante got altitude sickness hiking Mt. Whitney, not to mention his aching feet and throbbing shins, but he kept forging ahead.
“Every day, you just get up and do it,” he said.
He averaged 20 to 35 miles a day, fueled by protein bars, packets of baby food and tortillas filled with salami and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. At one time he did a 24-hour challenge, in which hikers walk a full day to see how far they can go. Amante went from midnight one day to midnight the next, trekking 72.1 miles.
He kept a journal of his days on the trail, typing nightly into his phone and sending his writings and photos to his sister for posting online.
On the final eight-mile leg of the journey, Amante wrote about what he felt like when he got to the monument at the Canadian border.
“The pride I felt and the extreme sense of joy almost brought me to tears,” he wrote, ecstatic after conquering his goal. “The flip side brings me sadness knowing that this journey has come to an end. I know that the feeling I felt walking on that trail will leave an everlasting imprint on my future.”
Amante also decided to use his hike to give back. He is a member of the New Generations Rotary Club in Temecula, and he and the group tapped into the hike to raise $10,000 to build four water wells in Nigeria.
“I wanted to dedicate this journey to a cause,” he said. “The club had built a couple of wells prior, so thought it would be good to use my platform while doing the hike.”
Occupation: Health and life insurance broker at Amante & Associates Insurance Solutions, Inc.
Notable: Amante completed a 2,650-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail that goes from the Mexican border to Canada.