TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Maryland man plans to hike the Arizona Trail to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association.
Blake Gardner arrived in Tucson on Tuesday, Feb. 27, and traveled to the US-Mexico border early Thursday morning, 3/1, to start the long trek.
The trail is 800 miles long and runs from the border to the Utah state line, passing through the Grand Canyon.
Gardner is an avid hiker so he didn't have to do too much physical preparing; however, he did have to do a lot of packing.
He said he plans to make his way into small towns about every 10 days to recharge. He's hoping to complete the journey in about seven weeks.
The first few days a friend will keep Gardner company, but other than that he'll be doing the entire hike solo.
He has always wanted to take on the Arizona Trail, but says he wanted to make the effort for a good cause to keep him motivated.
So he picked the Alzheimer's Association.
"It's a very debilitating disease. Again it's a very slow acting disease and it's really tough to see loved ones go through it," Gardner said.
He said it's a cause that's close to his heart and he hopes to raise money to find a cure.
"I've had several of my relatives that have had the affliction. A couple of them have passed away. My wife's mom passed away not too long ago, and then my mom and uncle currently have it," he said.
Click here for Gardner's donation page: http://act.alz.org/goto/Blake_Hikes_the_AZT_for_ALZ
He plans to keep people updated about his journey through his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/dage1301