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June 11, 2014     Chester Progressive
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June 11, 2014

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2C Wednesday, June 11, 2014 . Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter ew non- alms eal The sky's the limit for the new nonprofit formed by these three. Aaron Stokes (left), Amy Roe-Stokes and Brett Bergstrand are working on their new nonprofit, Ruck Off Adventures, which helps soothe the pains of post-traumatic stress disorder for veterans through connecting with nature on outdoor recreation adventures. Photo by James Wilson James Wilson life, but I've also always had The timing of the Sports Editor grandeur. It brings a sense of formation of the organization serenity and peace to me."couldn't be better. PTSD has Stokes emphatically agreedhit a high point in recent "You're given a basic item with Bergstrand, noting that years. According to a study issued rucksack that you nature allows people done by the national carry all your life in," diagnosed with PTSD to Department of Veterans explained Brett Bergstrand reconnect with who they are. Affairs released in January, on life in the military. "We Stokes explained that in male veterans under 30 saw a carry a lot of weight on our society, everyday obstacles 44 percent increase in the back, and it's time to drop can be a struggle. On top of rate of suicides since 2009. that ruck, let it go." that, those who suffer from "There were more people Bergstrand, along with PTSD struggle with who committed suicide fellow veteran Aaron Stokes themselves, returning from Iraq than and his wife, Amy "When you put yourself outwere killed in combat," said Roe-Stokes, aim to drop that in nature the problems that Bergstrand. "If we help one weight, and help other surround you in society person, it'll make all of this veterans do the same, aren't there," expanded worthwhile." through their new nonprofit Stokes. "All your problems"We aren't looking to make Ruck Off Adventures. are able to leave you alone, a million dollars; we're Bergstrand and Stokes, It's a place of peace and looking to help a million both raised in Quincy, came serenity when there's chaos people," added Roe-Stokes on back to their hometown after and confusion everywhere the goal of the organization. serving in the military. The else." To start with, Ruck Off two veterans had a difficult The idea of starting a Adventures is offering time adjusting to being back, nonprofit to help vets wasguided whitewater rafting, however, and were both given to Stokes by one of the rock climbing, mountain diagnosed with instructors at FRC. biking and fishing post-traumatic stress "An instructor at FRC adventures. The organization disorder, looked at me and said, 'Wehopes to eventually expand to Separately, the two learned need to figure out a place for offer other outdoor-based to live with their disorders, you where you're going to be adventures, but is planning One huge component that able to take what you learn to grow organically. seemed to ease the pain was here and implement it intoThe start-up organization found in the solace of nature, the world,'" explained is currently building a Bergstrand spent a good Stokes. "He said, 'Why don't website amount of time on the river you look into providing (, and with a fishing pole. Stokes recreational adventures tois accepting help from all joined the Outdoor vets with PTSD?'" walks of life. The Recreation Leadership Stokes took the idea and organization is on the program at Feather River ran with it. His wife, Amylookout for grant writers, College, graduating with a Roe-Stokes, started the lawyers and volunteers of all degree in the program last process of forming the sorts that are interested in month. - nonprofit and Bergstrand helping grow the nonprofit. "When I'm out there I and Stokes began shaping aThose interested in remember what I'm thankful series of adventures around learning more about Ruck for," explained Bergstrand on Plumas County on which Off Adventures are his connection with nature, they would be able to takeencouraged to contact Stokes "I've always had a difficult others suffering from PTSD. at 927-7149. rail rl As early as the 1840s, The trip concludes in the pioneer wagon trains. On farmers and gold seekers Surprise Valley near the second night, participants loaded their possessions, Cedarville in Modoc County. will spend the evening at along with a few women, This was also an alternate Stevens Camp, which children, dogs and cats, in route used by early pioneers provides toilets, spring water covered wagons and began to reach central Oregon. and possibly hot showers. what would become an "For me, this trail is very Participants will need to arduous journey toward the special and as a historian, I bring their own tents and Pacific Ocean. The trickle of get to relive the past bysleeping bags. emigrants beginning in 1841 thinking of John C. Fremont, The cost for the trip is $275 turned into hordes of Kit Carson, Thomas per adult, $150 for children 7 dreamers after the discovery 'Brokenhand' Fitzpatrick and through 14 and free for of gold in California in 1848. many other brave men and children under 7. The cost The overland emigrant trek women as they made this includes all meals from took five to six months difficult journey from small breakfast Saturday through crossing mountains, deserts, towns throughout the breakfast Monday. In addition rivers and some of the most Midwest," explained Warner to tents and sleeping bags, hostile country in the world. Anderson, trail bossfrom the participants are encouraged Now owners of SUVs and High Rock Trekkers. to bring a CB radio, camera, other four-wheel drive Anderson said the trip isfolding chairs, snacks, vehicles can relive the gold open to all four-wheel drive refreshments and drinking rush era as they travel the enthusiasts and their water. famous Lassen-Applegate families. It is not a difficult The trip is fully insured and Emigrant Trail, marveling at route; however, there are a operates under a permit from such sights as the beautiful few places where four-wheel the Bureau of Land Black Rock Desert, the drive will be required orManagement. Proceeds from majestic High Rock Canyon, where trail committee the event help support the Double Hot Springs, Soldier instructions must be followed. California Association of Meadows and much more. "The emigrants wrote in Four-Wheel Drive Clubs' The 200-mile journey begins their diaries such good Conservation and Education Friday, July 18, and goes descriptions of their trip that Foundation. through Monday, July 21, and we can identify the majority The trip is limited to the is hosted by the High Rock of key points of interest in the first 25 vehicles on a Trekkers Four-Wheel Drive history of this route," first-registered, first-served Club: The trip will begin near Anderson said. basis. To register contact Imlay, Nevada, and will follow Camping the first night will Warner Anderson at the same wagon train route be at Double Hot Springs,775-629-9232 or Ron vance at used by Peter Lassen in 1849. former camping area for all of 775-246-4099. Chain Saw Work Piling & Burning Mach!ne Brushing [ Certified Hand Crews First 100' Defensible Space I Yard Raking, Gutter Cleaning, etc. l ! !