Here at 13,000 feet, where storms sweep the ridges clear of trees and the quiet seems to stretch as far as the views, a group of combat veterans pressed on wordlessly on a blustery July morning, searching for something each had struggled to find since coming home from war: peace.
The group was almost halfway through a 3,100 mile hike along the Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada. With steady 20-mile days and a little luck, they’d reach the finish before the predictable September snows of Montana. They hoped to also come away with a little perspective.
At the front was Master Sgt. Jeremy Tierney, an elite Army Ranger and Special Operations soldier. Since 2001, he had deployed 13 times.
“You get to see the worst of humanity. After all that I was pretty angry, pretty pessimistic,” he said as his blue eyes searched the ridge for a trail. A black bracelet clutched his wrist, etched with the name of a friend killed in 2002.