Alumnus Hikes Pacific Crest Trail in Ambitious Fundraising Endeavor

Earlier this year, James Nagel ’10 packed his bags and embarked on a journey that would challenge him both physically and mentally. Starting at the Mexican border in Campo, Calif., James hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to the Canadian border to raise funds to support Holden Village in the Cascade Mountains, where he is a member on the retreat center’s board of directors.

A mechanical engineering graduate from Valpo, James volunteered at Holden following graduation before pursuing a full-time career as a solar engineer in San Diego. But his desire to cross the PCT off his bucket list eventually became too great.

“My involvement on the board at Holden really pushed me to think about using the PCT hike as a vehicle to support the village,” he says.

James says his involvement as a Valpo student in organizations like Engineers Without Borders and with the Chapel also pushed him toward such an arduous commitment.

“At Valpo, you learn that in your daily life, you have to pursue your passions,” he says. “And doing that for the glory of God really made me shift this from not just a cool trail to hike, but a cool trail for a cause — for Holden.”