Matt Parker, a 25 year old horserider, has completed a 4,000 mile long cross country ride on the American Discovery Trail (ADT). He began his journey in California in May of 2003 and crossed 13 states. He finished November 3rd, 2005, on the Atlantic Coast at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware. Several horseriders joined Matt for the final miles and the State of Delaware hosted ceremonies and a celebration at the Park’s main pavilion.
Parker is the first person to ride horseback across America on the new American Discovery Trail equestrian route. The American Discovery Trail passes through 14 National Parks, 16 National Forests, and visits more than 10,000 sites of historic, cultural, and natural significance. The ADT connects 5 National Scenic Trails, 11 National Historic Trails, 30 National Recreational Trails, and hundreds of local and regional trails.
Dick Bratton, Vice President of the American Discovery Trail Society, remarked, “Matt Parker is a truly remarkable young man who was willing to face the unknown alone. He overcame many adversities on his 4,000 mile ride. He met the challenges head on with great perseverance and dedication. On the trail Matt learned a lot about America and the American people but what is most important is what he learned about himself.”
Matt demonstrated an unusual insight for a 25-year-old when he stated, “This trip stems from a great deal of disappointment and very little faith in my generation. I don’t want to be part of a generation known only for fast foods, electronics, and drugs. I decided I wanted to see if I could do something the opposite of what was expected – to stretch myself beyond bounds anyone thought I could go.“
In 2003 Matt started his journey on a Racking Horse Named “Smokey” and crossed the deserts and mountains of Nevada and Utah facing many challenges. While resting at ranches along the way, he earned his keep by mending fences and herding cattle. In September he reached Manti-LaSal National Forest in eastern Utah having ridden 1,008 miles. There he stopped for the winter.
In 2004, Matt resumed his journey on a new horse, a Missouri Fox Trotter named “Little Face”, and crossed the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the plains of Kansas. In December, severe winter weather stopped him near Council Grove southwest of Topeka, KA
In 2005 Matt started again from Kansas on another new horse, an Appaloosa named “Cincinnati”. He was forced to explore alternate routes parallel to the ADT for horse travel since some parts of the ADT route do not allow horses. So he has been a “pioneer” for equestrians that will follow.
When asked why he did it, Parker responded “I kind of wanted to see what I was made of at a basic level. I couldn’t imagine a more supreme test than to ride a horse across the U.S. in this day and age. I’ve already had the best education money can buy…and it didn’t teach me a thing about manhood. This trip for me is a rite of passage to manhood.” Thus, he named his quest a “Ride of Passage”. To learn more about Matt and his great adventure, visit http://www.rideofpassage.com
Media interested in interviewing Matt should contact Tracie Snitker at Reverb Communications (209) 586-1495 x104 or E-Mail Tracie@reverbinc.com