A Unity College alum will be the first person to run the entire length of the recently completed Hills to Sea Trail network on Saturday.
Ryan Howes ‘07, a Unity College graduate with a B.S. in Adventure Education Leadership and Adventure Therapy, will spend Saturday, Nov. 5, running the 46-mile trail with various fellow travellers, beginning around 7 a.m. in Unity. To see where you could join in, visit the trail map here.
Howes is a health coach and professional climber who owns and operates Northern Vertical in Belfast, which offers personalized, dynamic guided climbing adventures. He works privately with health clients looking to improve their health through nutrition, fitness training, and mindfulness.
“My mission is to inspire, empower, and support living a sustainably healthy lifestyle; because climbing and guiding is my lifestyle, I am constantly training and refining my craft,” he said. “I wanted to do this event as an awareness raiser for health and connecting people with this brand-new outdoor amenity we can enjoy in Waldo County, and to kind of retrace my adulthood, from my time at Unity College to where the trail ends in my current hometown of Belfast.”
The trail network is described as a slow, steady footpath that winds across Waldo County’s forests, fields, streams, and hills, from Unity to coastal Belfast. The route is a combination of well-established trails linked by new sections established across private lands, thanks to volunteers and local land groups. Parts of the network traverse the Unity College campus, and Unity College students, faculty, and staff were instrumental in various aspects of developing and interpreting the trail.
“It is fitting that the Hills to Sea Trail traverses part of the Unity College campus, as our students, employees, and campus guests all have an appreciation for natural resources and the environment,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “I am sure the trail will provide enjoyment and recreational opportunities for many residents and visitors in the state of Maine. Congratulations to the team that worked to make the trail — and this event — a reality.”
Due to some land closures for hunting season, Howes will bypass a few miles of trail, running on roads to reconnect to the existing trail.
Howes — an American Mountain Guides Association Certified Rock Instructor, Licensed Maine Recreation Guide, and Wilderness First Responder with a BS in Adventure Education Leadership and Adventure Therapy from Unity College — will start his challenging journey at 7 a.m. from a trailhead in Unity.