Utah couple walks almost 3,000 miles to raise money for charities

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DECLO, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Utahans Kolton Rackham and Amanda Autrey started their journey walking across america in Tibbey Island, Georgia to Newport, Oregon, originally estimating their walk to be 2,918 miles, marking it as their official name.

The duo started their journey in May 2017, currently at approximately 2,400 miles Tuesday near Declo.

"I think it'll be just over 3,000 now," Rackham said.

Rackham wears a wolf head piece and Autrey wears a red jacket to distinguish themselves.

"It's to draw attention and kind of bring more awareness to the foundations," he said, also saying it's easy for them to be spotted.

Rackham said the part of the reason for this journey was for self discovery.

"Like a personal development," he said.

Another part of why they're making the trek across America is to raise awareness and money for two charities: The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

"The Make-A-Wish Foundation was one that our friend encouraged us to look into. When we did, we found that we loved what they stood for, the hope for healing and encouraging those little ones to have hope in their lives to fight harder," Autrey said.

For the suicide prevention foundation, Autrey said she could relate to it.

"That was something that I struggled with, and I wanted to come out and share that story with people and encourage those who that are struggling to find their drive for life, and then for those who have lost loved ones to be there for support and comfort," she said.

While they still have about 600 miles to go, they hope to be finished by May, at least.

"It'll be a year long journey. We are 30 weeks pregnant, we've got 10 weeks left, so we're trying to get there before the baby gets here," she said.

The two said they've seen many things on their journey to Oregon and they had to do a lot of problem solving.

"We didn't come out with a game plan. We came out with the sort of a walkabout idea, where you sort of embrace what finds you and you kind of work with things that way," Autrey said.

Everyday, they would start walking about 8 or 9 a.m., ending their day about 5 or 6 p.m. Each night, they stay with different people they find through social media or through word of mouth with people they do stay with.

"(We) get to know a lot of people. That's been really cool and hear their stories and attract with that... Meet a lot of families and sometimes, they'll even have their friends come over, just talking and getting to see the different lifestyles across the US," Autrey said.

After connecting with families for a night, they get dropped back off where they were picked up so they don't miss any miles.

One thing Rackham said that amazes him from this trip is timing, saying that he recently just saw his cousin who is a truck driver, go past them. Autrey adds that when they were on the road, timing had them lined up at a high school that was talking about suicide prevention.

"To line up with people and experiences we've had, you can't explain it other than divine timing," he said.

Autrey said as they walk through the states, the biggest struggle that they have seen is that they want to "see more hope."

"That was part of the journey, was to spread hope. We have seen that that was needed and a lot of people were kind of just rolling through life," she said. "It was nice to be able to stop and be able to see them kind of light up and get excited about things that they were passionate about."

They had to go through strenuous weather at times, saying they had to camp through a tropical storm in Tennessee. Also saying they've seen snow a few times and just walk through it.

The two will be going west on the Interstate 84 toward Twin Falls then make their way up to Boise in the next week or so. Once they reach Oregon, they said they will be putting their roots there.

"This is kind of our walk home. It's been really encouraging, to be walking especially towards the end here, towards our home," Autrey said.

The couple wants to encourage people to go out and do more things they love.

"Whatever thing that they're thinking of, that they're passionate about. Just go out and do it," Rackham said.

Autrey added that "there's a lot more kindness in the world than people realize."

To follow their journey, check out their Facebook page, or their website to donate for the causes they're walking for.

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