TWO friends are preparing to embark on an epic trek through one of America’s most inhospitable terrains.
Mike Willers and Cliff Newman will set off in February for a trek into the Grand Canyon in aid of charity.
The journey will take them into the centre of the canyon, through the Havasupai Reservation at its base and then ascending all the way up on the last day of their hike.
The pair will take six days to complete the journey, walking eight hours a day and camping under the stars.
Mike, from Wickham, is a former firefighter and used to work with Cliff.
The 44-year-old said: ‘This is completely new to Cliff and me. We work well together and lean on each other. We have started a bit of training, a bit of running and swimming.
‘Definitely the challenge right now is raising money. We’re putting all our effort into that at the moment. Once we are close to our target we can really focus on the walk.’
Mike and Cliff are raising money for the charity Help a Capital Child run by radio station Capital FM.
They want to raise £10,000.
The money they raise will go towards the Teen Cancer Trust to build a teenage cancer support unit at Southampton General Hospital.
So far, they have raised around £4,000 through online donations and events such as a summer ball at the King’s Head in Wickham.
They have also received donations from Mud Island Nursery, in North Boarhunt, where Mike is a manager.
Cliff, from Wickham, works as a vehicle mechanic and is a retained firefighter at the Wickham fire station.
The 29-year-old said: ‘We were looking for something challenging and this seemed like the right thing to do.’
He said they have been training by going on weekend walks, swimming and camping in preparation.
He said: ‘We have to prepare for the heat, terrain and climate.
‘We have relied on each other a lot over the years. We get on well and can push each other a bit more.’
The duo will be holding a Halloween-themed fundraiser at Mud Island Nurseries on Saturday, October 26.
They will set off on their trek on Saturday, February 22. To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/grandcanyontrekkers