When Hannah Bacon, was let go from her job at an environmental nonprofit as a result of the pandemic, the New Milford native decided to use her time to raise climate change awareness in a very ambitious way.
Bacon, who has always loved spending time in nature, hiking and camping, took her passion to the next level by backpacking across the country to raise money for climate change awareness.
"I don't even know what day it is, but it's a good day," Bacon said in the middle of a walk one day.
That sunny disposition has helped Hannah walk 1,635 miles over the course of 115 days, starting her journey in San Clemente, California in November, and her expected finish date is in late June in Virginia Beach.
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"I just love being outdoors and I think there's a really special connection between ourselves and nature that we've gotten really far away from," Bacon said.
The idea was born on a flight to California to visit friends.
"I had every intention of flying back,” Bacon said. “But then a few days after landing I was thinking about my carbon footprint so kind of had the thought to do it."
Her mission is to raise climate change awareness. Through “Go Fund Me,” Hannah has raised over $16,000 for the Sunrise Movement - a youth-led climate change organization that focuses on renewable energy and creating green jobs. Her goal is to raise $20,000 before completing her journey -- one that has been filled with countless highs.
"Every state has something extreme and something incredibly beautiful,” Bacon said. “And things that are challenging, so it kind of changes state by state."
But also some lows. And inclement weather.
"The snowstorm in Texas was really unexpected,” says Bacon. "I was kind of like, 'Yeah you know I'm from the northeast it's not going to be that bad,' but it was that bad and temperatures were in the negatives, so I was like, 'OK, I just need to sit and take the time off.'"
Planning her walking routes based on where she can restock food and water, Hannah is currently in Oklahoma with a handful of states and several months left in her journey.
And when it comes to what she’s most looking forward to upon completion, she said, "I'm really just excited to see my family.”
“I'm just really close with them and it's something I think about all the time," she said.
A sentiment shared by her proud mother.
"I wasn't surprised because it's Hannah and she is known for making these great ideas come into a reality,” Jackie Eaton, Hannah’s mom, said. "Just by taking, literally taking that first step, and it became such an inspiration."
To learn more about Hannah’s mission and to donate to the Sunrise Movement just visit www.milesforclimate.org.