Shawn Burton will enjoy a quiet 42nd birthday this week — no noisemakers or singing unless a woodpecker and a mountain chickadee join the party.
Checking off a “must do” from his bucket list, the business development manager from El Dorado Hills plans to hike the entire Tahoe Rim Trail. He started his journey near Kingswood Estates on Oct. 5 and he hopes to cross the finish line on Friday, Oct. 18.
“The idea came to me a couple of years ago,” Burton said a few days before his trek. “Once I hit 40, I told myself ‘no more excuses. If you want to do something then find a way to do it.’”
With all the technology and gadgets to distract people, Burton said, “It’s good for your spirit. It’s good for your mind to get out in nature.” Growing up in the Bay Area, he said his family didn’t go hiking or camping. Now the married father of two boys wants to make up for time lost.
The Cub Scout den leader said he hopes his adventures inspire younger generations to drop the game controllers and go outside.
“One of the reasons I got involved with the Cub Scouts was because I wanted my sons, along with the boys in our pack, to be exposed to the beauty of the outdoors and learn to love it just like I do,” Burton said. “I’ve taken the boys in our pack on all kinds of hikes from a B-17 airplane crash in the Sierra to easier hikes around Folsom Lake.”
The Tahoe Rim Trail covers 165 miles around the Tahoe Basin, climbing and descending more than 23,000 feet over the entire trail. To train, Shawn has been taking a boxing class to build up his endurance and runs from the top of Serrano Parkway to the bottom.
“I know a lot of people look at hiking multiple miles, sleeping out in the cold for multiple nights with no access to flushing toilets as torture, but I’ve never seen it that way,” Shawn said. “To me, it’s about the challenge of being in the elements, experiencing nature at it’s most basic level and the memories and experiences I get to share with friends and family.”
His wife Rose and sons Forrest, 12, and Bryce, 9, will visit during the trek. Friends will also join up with Shawn to provide some company and needed supplies.
This isn’t Shawn’s first time on a trail. He’s hiked in Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Tetons, Mount St. Helens and more. “But I’ve never done anything this big,” he said.
And he has more big adventures planned. His Great Outdoors Bucket List includes the 211-mile John Muir trail, the two highest mountains in Ecuador (Cotopaxi at 19,348 feet and Chimborazo at 20,703 feet), Patagonia, Everest base camp, Bhutan, New Zealand, etc.
“I want my kids to remember me as someone who isn’t afraid to take on challenges, even if they are hard,” Shawn said. “I feel that if you can take those challenges and mold them together with something that you consider fun, then that is even better.”