Drew

Andrew Kollar, left, shows coworkers Karli Shaw, middle and Angie Evans, right, all of the equipment he'll be bringing with him when he starts hiking the Pacific Crest Trail next week.

Megan Hansen/Nisqually Valley Ne

Nisqually Valley News reporter Andrew Kollar starts pulling items one-by-one out of his backpack.

A cup, a spork, a tent, a jacket, pants, shorts — a bear vault?

He’ll only have to carry that for about 500 miles or so, he says.

Kollar has almost every aspect of his 2,659 mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail planned out. 

The 2013 Yelm High School graduate and local news guy will be headed out on the adventure of a lifetime next week.

And while fulfilling this dream, he’ll also be walking every one of those miles for a good cause.

Kollar is raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. So far he’s raised nearly $900, but hopes to raise a whole lot more.

“It’d be great if I could raise $1 for every mile,” he said. 

When Kollar started planning his trip and decided to add the fundraising component, he started looking for ideas.

“I started thinking about diseases that keep people from getting outside,” Kollar said. “The outdoors is such a big part of my life.”

He said MS stood out partly because of former NVN sports reporter Tyler Huey. 

He used to see him in high school when he would come out to cover the golf team, Kollar said. 

When Kollar started at the NVN last summer, he encountered a different Tyler than he remembered. The longtime sports reporter had also long battled MS. He was walking with a cane and had slowed down considerably. 

As Huey interviewed Kollar for his new employee story, Kollar shared all of his outdoor interests and activities.

“I almost felt guilty sharing all that I do because I knew he also liked to do some of those things and couldn’t,” Kollar said. “I want to inspire people to get outside or help people get outside.” 

Huey said he was touched by Kollar’s efforts.

“Everyone has their problems, so I deal with physical limitations and never complain,” he said. “Drew needs to know I’m honored and humbled to be an inspiration and his friend.

“Most importantly, I want him to grow a bushy, manly beard during the long journey.”

It takes the average hiker four to six months to complete the trail, but Kollar said he hopes to complete it in 100 days. And no, he doesn’t plan on shaving or getting a haircut until he gets home.

The trail starts in Campo, California near the Mexico border and passes through 25 national forests and seven national parks. It ends in British Columbia.  

“I’m just trying to have as much fun as possible,” he said. “I know that you’re only at a certain age and physical ability for so long. Passions change.”

Kollar will be mainly buying what he needs along the way, but will have eight pre-packed boxes shipped strategically along the trail. 

Stops near civilization can be few and far between and shipments will have to be strategically planned. 

He estimates his pack will be about 30 pounds, including food and water. 

He will hike through forests, deserts and even snow-topped mountain passes. 

His phone will act as his lifeline, serving as a GPS and provide vital information, using an app that will show him where water sources are as well as campsites and updated condition information from other hikers in the area. 

During his journey, Kollar will be blogging, vlogging and keeping his followers updated on his adventures. 

“I’ll share the challenges I’m facing, what I’m enjoying, not enjoying,” he said. 

His updates will be published regularly in the Nisqually Valley News.

He also set up a Facebook page, “Adventurously Andrew,” where people can follow his journey as well as find a link to his donation page to the National MS Society. 

Kollar will be flying out Sunday, but he’s having a farewell celebration 5-9 p.m., this Saturday at Prairie Hotel. There will be food and Nisqually Valley Brewing is donating beer for the event. Everyone is welcome.

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