Mackinac Island Bartender Hikes For St. Jude’s Cancer Research

You may know Jesse Bader if you visited Mackinac Island here in Michigan, you can catch him serving up a storm at various bars on the island.

He’s lived there since 2003, and he says he was ready for a change. That change meant leaving Mackinac Island. Jesse

He decided to do a thru hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.  The PCT is over 2,000 miles long– stretching from Mexico all the way up to Canada.

He describes, “The PCT and itself are awe dropping. You’re talking about every different kind of microclimate you could have besides swamp on the PCT. From Everglades, to deserts, to high desert plains, to the pines.”

But if that wasn’t the ambitious enough, he was determined to hike two more trails starting with the Florida Trail. 

Bader says, “It’s 1100 8.6 miles that goes from Big Cypress Swamp to the panhandle of Florida…It was grueling. And then I started the Arizona Trail which I’m on now. So I have just about a month left.”

And you ask yourself, why would someone trek through these intense trails? For Jesse– it was simple.

“Raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I just said you know, this is no better cause that I could find people with kids. I mean kids in the future, and they’re up there everything. My goal for this winter was 20,000. And just a few days ago, we actually that so we’re at $20,120.75.”

And with all three trails combines, he’s raised just over $43,000. 

He says, “I should be done with the trail if everything goes well. By April 30. Florida Trail was pretty extreme. A lot of people say it’s flat, it’s easy, but it is far from that. It was probably the most rigorous thing I’ve probably had to put myself through through life. Oh the Arizona Trail has been so beautiful! T sunsets, the sunrises… You know, you try to find words to describe the beauty that you see and I find a loss for it. A thru-hike changes the fabric of your entire soul.

Despite the physical and mental challenges, he’s learned a lot.

Jesse 2“Humanity. To be humble. A lot of times in life, it’s hard on the day to day to find people that care that are willing to give time to things that that are in their inner circle. I’ve gained back some some hope. Yeah, just hope that people are are good,” says Bader.

Just when you thought the adventure stopped there.

“This winter I plan on writing a book if I can finish the Arizona Trail. I’d like to write a book about Pacific restaurant forestry on the Arizona Trail after I would really like to do the Continental Divide Trail and then also the Appalachian Trail too, and then I’d like to write a book after that too.”

But there’s one more thing he couldn’t forget.

“Just a holler at my peeps on Mackinac Island!”

JESSE HAS SET UP AN EVENT PAGE WITH ST. JUDES CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL.
AND EVERY DONATION MADE GOES DIRECTLY TO ST. JUDE’S.

TO DONATE TO THE CAUSE, CLICK HERE.

FOLLOW JESSE’S JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM HERE.

Categories: the four