Our Voice: We're grateful for life's mental and physical challenges

It's the time of year when people are more interested in getting outside to work in the yard or take an evening stroll. We don't all have to do a cross-country trek or run a marathon, but we're thankful and inspired by those who do.

One man, one trail

Arron Ellig, 23, of Richland, is less than a week into what is likely to be a five-month journey. He is walking from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail.

If you look at his blog, he posted a photo of his feet with bandaged toes and a large blister on each heel. That photo was taken a day and a half into his quest.

Before it's through, Ellig likely will see blistering hot days and snow-covered trails, in addition all kinds of wildlife from snakes to bears.

The Pacific Coast Trail is 2,650 miles long, and most hikers shoot to cover 20 miles a day. Hundreds of hikers start this adventure every year. More than half of them finish.

Hikers mail themselves food and other supplies to outposts along the way so they can restock. There are few campgrounds on the trail; for the most part you are on your own.

This is a serious effort and takes months of planning and preparation. For most people, it takes longer to plan the trip than to hike it.

If you've never heard of the Pacific Coast Trail or considered hiking off into the wildness, this whole thing might sound crazy. On the other hand, certainly there are those among our readers who are trying to figure out how to untether themselves from their desk and do just that.

A new movie, Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, due for release later this year, will bring another hiker's adventure on the Pacific Coast Trail to the big screen.

Or you can follow Ellig's blog at onemanonetrail.blogspot.com.

So whether you're one who will experience the Pacific Coast Trail (or some other adventure) through a book/movie/blog, or you'll actually climb Badger Mountain this year.

Get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors.

Boston safe running

Speaking of things that take a long time to train and prepare for, how about running a marathon?

Running a marathon seems like a big deal, but most of the work comes before the race. Preparing to run a marathon takes months or years of training -- long-distance run after long-distance run. Blood (blisters). Sweat. Tears.

There is a runner's adage that says, "No matter how slow you run, you still are lapping everyone who is sitting on the couch."

We're thankful for those who discipline themselves enough to pursue their dreams -- running or otherwise -- including the local runners who participated in the Boston marathon this week.

Being the first anniversary of the bombing of that race, people are more appreciative of the things that we so often take for granted.

We're grateful this year's marathon was a successful and safe event.

And, in a way, we are grateful for those tragic events that remind us how fortunate we are for the routine and predictable events in our lives.