Image Source: Kevin Stewart
At CCAHT Headquarters, we are SUPER PUMPED to be partnering with Hike Untied this month to raise awareness around human trafficking in East Tennessee and raise funds to help support human trafficking survivors in our community. On July 23, Taylor and Minta of Hike Untied will be tackling all 6 trails to Mt. LeConte in only 24 hours – and that’s a lot of miles! Curious to learn more about the people in the boots? We thought you might be. CCAHTers, meet Minta Ray and Taylor Drake of Hike Untied:
Name: Minta Ray
Trail Name: Blueberry
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Strengths: making friends with anyone, wiping out while hiking
Weaknesses: starting fires, maintaining sanity while indoors
Why I’m Walking: to practice being human
Hi! My name is Minta, and I’m a curly haired dreamer from Knoxville, TN. I graduated from Christian Academy of Knoxville and am a rising junior at Vanderbilt University studying Medicine, Health, and Society. In the future, I hope to attend medical school and provide healthcare for the underserved in rural Appalachia. When I’m not studying, I am involved in the Navigators campus ministry, work closely with kids in North Nashville at The Afterschool Program, volunteer at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and serve as a Resident Advisor in my dorm.
Did I mention that I love the outdoors? My head is often buried in the books, but my heart lives and thrives in the stillness and enormity of the mountains. While I love to pursue my passions, especially social justice, this comes with a dreadful tendency to spread myself too thinly. Enter wilderness: the mountains serve as a refuge for my heart and mind where I come to be still, meet with the Lord, and remember exactly what it is that makes me human. I have been hiking and camping with my family all my life, but have picked up backpacking in the past 4-5 years.
One of the defining experiences of my life thus far was a 420 mile Appalachian Trail section hike from Massachusetts to Maine in Summer 2014. It was on that trip that I received my trail name, Blueberry, because of my signature blue floppy hat that I always wear while hiking. Thank you for joining on this CCAHT/Hike Untied adventure!
Name: Taylor Drake
Strengths:taking selfies with mountains, sporting fashionable hiking socks
Why I’m Walking:to escape to now
Wazzup!? My name is Taylor, and I am a junior at Maryville High School. I run cross country and track and enjoy jamming to music in my car. My goal in life is to live in the presence of the present. The mountains, especially the Smokies, allow me to do this. Their massive bends and towering trees encompass me with a sense of purpose. By minimizing myself, I am capable of maximizing my opportunities. The 17 years of my existence are a millisecond compared the lifespan of the mountains that have felt the bare feet of my ancestors. However, in the fleeting and immeasurable supply of time we call life, I know I can make a difference in the world.
I got into hiking more recently and have had a blast jumping into adventures with Minta. A fun fact is that our moms have been best friends since college, so Minta, her brother Austin, and my twin sister Madison have been raised alongside one another. Last Christmas, we hiked 4 of the 5 trails to Mt. LeConte in one day. I also recently went on a weeklong trip with my dad to Yosemite National Park!
I’m the energy source that drives Hike Untied and am never at a loss for words. I got my trail name, Potty, on my last hike with Minta when I had to stop every half mile to water the flowers along the trail. I can’t wait to join with CCAHT for our next adventure!
CCAHTers, we don’t want Taylor and Minta to have to hike alone this month – help us raise awareness and funds by embarking on hikes of your own! Long or short, local or not, post photos of your hike to social media with the tag #HikeUntied, and all month we will be reposting your photos.
Interested in hiking part or all of the LeConte trek alongside Minta and Taylor? Learn more about how to join their hike here.