By Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (AP) - Combat veterans who are hiking the Appalachian Trail as part of the “Walk Off The War” program are at the start of their six-month trek.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry says it has again partnered with Warrior Hike for the program that supports returning combat veterans’ transition to civilian life.

Officials say the 2,185-mile hike gives veterans a chance to process their wartime experiences with others who have been through the same thing. It is designed to help them transition from military to civilian life.

This year’s group began their trek this week along Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia.

The program also has been expanded this year to also include end-to-end hikes on the Continental Divide and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails.

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