Today, I am proud to announce that Modern Hiker will be leading a fundraising group hike for Climb Up So Kids Can Grow Up‘s nationwide Climb Up the 50 event.

Climb Up So Kids Can Grow Up is a set of outdoorsy charity events organized by the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing medicine and supplies to children with AIDS and their families in several African countries. I figured I’d be down for trying to raise some money – and I also figured the Modern Hiker readers might want to get involved, too – so now we’ve got ourself a little fundraising team!

Here’s the gist: On Saturday, July 3rd, I will be leading a hike to the highest point in Los Angeles County – Mount Baldy. If you would like to sleep in that day but would still like to sponsor me (and give some money to a very worthy cause), you can donate to my personal fundraising page or use the new donation widget on the left hand side of the page. But this isn’t just a solo hike – I want to get a Team going, too!

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If you think you can join me on Saturday morning, you can set up your own donation page to raise money as part of Team Modern Hiker! All you have to do is register for 2010 Climb Up The 50:

1. Visit: http://www.firstgiving.com/afca
2. Select “Join a Team”
3. Select “2010 Climb Up the 50 – Modern Hiker”
4. Enter your email and choose a password
5. Click on “Show All Teams”
6. Select “Team Modern Hiker”
7. Choose a URL for yourself
8. Customize your page
9. Start getting the word out and collecting donations!

Not only will you be helping out some very needy kids, but you’ll also be part of the coolest charity hiking team in L.A. County! Also, the guys at the Foundation were kind enough to provide me with some swag that I’ll hand out to those who raise the most money, including some bookmarks and decals, Larabars, Inova LED flashlights, Darn Tough Socks, and more. Plus, whoever raises the MOST money (myself excluded) will get a gift certificate for a FREE pair of shoes from Ahnu Footwear! Not a bad deal, right?

In case you were wondering how far your donated dollars will go, $30 will provide enough anti-retroviral medications to help a child combat AIDS for a month. $140 will provide enough antibiotics for ten children for a full year. $500 will give an HIV+ child ALL the medicine he or she needs for 16 months, and $5000 will feed a whopping 400 children for a month, giving them the strength to keep taking the medications they need to live a normal life.

And Now, The Hike:

This is a hike from Manker Flats to the summit of Mount Baldy, the highest point in Los Angeles County. It is a very strenuous hike, but it’s definitely do-able for hikers in good physical condition (plus, you’ve got a few weeks to train). Right now, I’m thinking of doing the reverse of this write-up, so we’ll ascend past the Sierra Club Ski Hut and leave ourselves the option of taking the ski lift down, past the most boring part of the trail.

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I will attempt to keep everyone in good hiking health and spirits, but this is all at your own risk. It’s almost 4000 feet of elevation gain, and the summit is over 10,000 feet – so please don’t try this if you don’t think you can tackle it.

The starting time may change depending on how many people join the Team, but feel free to add the event to your Google Calendar by clicking this button: . I’ll also post some more updates on Modern Hiker as we get closer to the big day!

Thanks for helping me out, either by sponsoring me or joining me on the trail and getting some sponsors of your own. We all know the mental and physical benefits of hiking – and now we can feel just a little bit better by helping those in need, too!

I’m really looking forward to making this event a huge success, and to seeing you on the trail on July 3rd!

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