Perry Gabbard describes achieving his 40-year dream to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on Episode 27

Today I will be interviewing a Missouri man who hung on to a dream for more than 40 years before finally taking a vital first step toward making it a reality.

Perry Gabbard worked as a logistics engineer for two major aircraft manufacturers. But, while he was in college, Perry picked up a brochure about hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a 2,650-mile border-to-border backpacking trail that follows a path from Mexico to Canada along the top of some very large mountains.

Perry’s interest in long distance hiking started when he was a 16-year-old high school student taking day hikes while visiting Sequoia National Park. During the hikes, Perry saw signs for distant places, like the High Sierra Trail. He learned he could actually travel all the way up the highest mountain in the continental United States, which is Mount Whitney, without needing technical climbing equipment.

Years later, when his employer offered a severance package to higher-paid employees, Perry retired to start his hike rather than waiting until he left his job to begin planning.

For Perry, the trip would become not only an adventure, but kind of a pilgrimage, both spiritually and physically, to overcome some things that had taken control of his life.

Perry’s analogy of his career being the apogee or, furthest point he could be from experiencing life to the full, was profound. I think a lot of people feel that way when they get into their 50s. They know, in their hearts, there must be more to life than what they are living at that point. They, too, feel drawn to something, but are often fearful of taking that first step.

Fortunately, Perry took that essential first step of faith toward moving in the direction he felt he was being pulled toward.

Although Perry did not hear an audible voice on his hiking excursion, he still felt God was sending him three distinct messages:

  • Finish the work
  • Share the joy
  • Remove the barriers

Finishing the work involved completing the steps to overcome an alcohol addiction, as well as actually completing the trail after four long summers of hiking.

Sharing the joy involved blogging about his adventure to inspire others. It also meant writing a book about his experience and the lessons he learned along the way.

The hike worked to remove some faith barriers which stood in Perry’s way from having a closer relationship with God. Today, he’s committed to sharing those lessons with others.

Like all the rest of us, Perry had some regrets about things he did and didn’t do in life. But he knows those years were not really wasted because they led him to a point where he knew he needed God to get back on track.

Perry tells people all the time they shouldn’t ‘should’ on themselves because to dwell on the woulda, shoulda, couldas of life is unproductive. Although he admits to making many mistakes in life, somehow his choices and God’s purpose, will and sovereign power came together to redeem those wasted years.

Perry’s book, “Stepping Out on an Adventure of Faith: What I Learned About Trusting God While Hiking the PCT,” is available on

People can connect with Perry by emailing him at or by visiting People can also download a free copy of his ebook, “Kickstarting Your Journey to a Greater Connection to God” by visiting his website.

That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit

I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.

If you order Perry’s book from the above link, Forward From 50 may earn a small commission.