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The Amazing Raw Food Hike-a-thon
A 3,000 Mile Fundraising Hike Along the Spectacular Continental Divide
on a 100% Raw Food Diet.

The idea for the Raw Food Hike-a-thon started with two emails 6 months apart that I sent out to hiking friends about various hiking adventures. Somehow, magically, these emails were also sent to Cherie Soria at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. I am a 2001 graduate of the LLCAI Raw Chef Training, but to this day, I have no idea how Cherie got a copy of these emails. When Cherie got the second 'accidental' email, she responded that "this must be happening for a reason and we should talk." I wrote and told Cherie about my desire to walk the 3000-mile Continental Divide Trail (CDT) on raw foods in the summer of 2005, but I wanted to do it for something bigger than myself. When I found out that Living Light has expansion plans for an event center for the raw community, but needs financial support to make it happen, the Raw Food Hike-a-thon was born.

The CDT is a 3000-mile trail that travels across the backbone of the continent from Mexico to Canada along the crest of the Rockies. This trail traverses the desert in New Mexico and Wyoming with long waterless stretches and 100 degree F temperatures. The 800-mile section in Colorado averages over 11,000 feet in elevation with snow, sub-freezing temperatures, and lightning dangers. I'll start at the Mexican border in New Mexico on April 22, 2005 (Earth Day) and finish 5 months later at the Canadian border in Montana. Along the way, I'll average around a marathon a day as I hike the trail to Canada before the snow flies in the fall. More information on the CDT can be found at cdtrail.org.

Doug Walsh on top of the Grand Teton in Wyoming!
Be sure to read the story of the Grand Teton Climb.

Doug Walsh is a former Colorado Outward Bound Instructor with years of backcountry experience. He has climbed the highest 100 peaks in Colorado and most of these hikes have been accomplished on a diet of 100% raw foods. He also hiked the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 4 months in the summer of 2001 on raw foods. Doug has been a vegan since 1988 and a raw foods vegan since 1996. He is a 2001 graduate of Cherie Soria's Living Light Culinary Arts Institute Chef Training Program.

We are thinking big, and thus need help to maximize our success. We are asking for Hike-a-thon donations/pledges of one cent to one dollar per mile. Donations will go toward Hike-a-thon expenses with the remainder going to support the new Living Light Center. We will recognize everyone making $/mile donations on our website as a "Hike-a-thon Angel," with special designations for donations of more than $100. For businesses and organizations wishing to participate in a more meaningful way, there are several sponsorship opportunities to choose from.

A special thanks to two of our generous Hike Partners:
Healthy Adventure and Hippocrates Health Institute!

Beginning the 13 mile Buckskin Gulch in southern Utah -- longest slot canyon in the world.

"Don't worry about what the world wants from you, worry about what makes you come more alive. Because what the world really needs are people who are more alive. Your real job is to increase the color and zest of your life."

Lawrence LeShan


The Hike-a-thon's primary goal is to spread the message of the raw food diet to the world. We intend to achieve this goal in two different, yet connected, ways. First, we want to raise money for a permanent building for the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. The time has come for a permanent location for the world's foremost raw culinary arts school that would also serve as an event and conference center for the raw world. This permanent location would facilitate much larger numbers of students at LLCAI, who would then become the next generation of teachers of raw food cuisine to the world.

Living Light Culinary Arts Institute has a vision of creating a center that will serve as an exemplary raw culinary arts school and event center to host the raw community. As Living Light co-director Cherie Soria says: "We have always seen ourselves as a bridge -- one that invites in all raw food enthusiasts without judgment about how raw they are or what kind of raw food diet works best for them. We are here to bring together various factions of the raw community so they can live their truth and share it with the world. The Raw Hike-a-thon will help to put raw food in the forefront of the news and assist us in creating the center we believe is long overdue -- a place where people from around the world can come and learn about the raw food lifestyle from the leaders of the raw world." Visit rawfoodchef.com for more info!

Second, we want to use the Hike-a-thon to spread the message about the fantastic benefits of the raw food diet. Walking a marathon a day at high elevations for 5 months on raw foods is hard to discount. Clearly, Doug is getting all the nutrition from raw foods he needs to thrive. The Hike-a-thon will provide an exciting story that the media cannot ignore and will thus spread the message of the health-promoting benefits of raw foods. It is our hope that people who read about Doug in the paper will become interested in learning more about the raw food lifestyle.

Finally, we want to use this amazing hike to inspire people to dream big and follow their hearts. Doug intends to send back inspirational emails and pictures from the trail which we will post on our "Trail Guide" page.

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