Army Veteran Erik Schlimmer has camped over 1,000 nights, climbed over 2,000 summits and hiked over 15,000 miles. In 2010 he hiked the entire Trans Adirondack Route – which spans over 230 miles – over just a few weeks. Schlimmer believes that hiking is one of the best ways for anyone – Veteran or otherwise – to improve their health and their happiness.
After completing two years of military service and four years of college, Schlimmer chose to spend his twenties and thirties enjoying nature by working the hiking trails of the Northeastern United States. He worked seasonally as a trail-builder, ranger, and expedition leader, living simply and spending all his free time hiking. He currently works as a therapist, helping others to return the favor for all who have helped him in the past.
After transitioning to civilian life, Schlimmer longed for the camaraderie he experienced in the Army. But he also loved the freedom and sense of personal accountability he found when being alone in nature.
It was his love of the Adirondacks that inspired him to found the Friends of the Trans Adirondack Route. His LLC works to ensure the Adirondacks remain free and open to the public, and promotes helping other people complete the trek themselves. He also founded his own publishing house, Beechwood Books, to publish his own books and materials on the Adirondacks.
#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:
- VA reinstates in-person services at 100 hospitals across the country
- VA hits major milestone in the resolution of legacy appeals
- White House, VA launch REACH — a call to action to engage the nation in preventing suicide
- Help Heal Veterans donates craft kits to VA hospitals to help provide activities for Veterans who are alone
Rob Laucius is a podcast intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is an undergraduate student at Hillsdale College studying History.