Earlier this year, Israel native Aric Tsypkin set out to complete the Pacific Crest Trail that runs up and down the West Coast.
Two days before completing the trail, his home country was invaded.
“On the 7th of October, I looked up in my phone and I saw the news. I had messages from friends saying like, ‘How? Where are you? Are you okay? Are you back home?’ Tsypkin said. “Then my mind was just racing for these two days that I had left to finish the trail.”
After completing the PCT, Tsypkin was forced to rethink his future plans. Going home was out of the picture, so he applied for a visa extension and landed back in Central Oregon.
During his stop in Bend, he says he got hooked with a taste of free beer and float on the river.
“Bend was the best stop on the trail along all the other towns,” he said. “For now, I’m happy to be here.”
After finding a place to stay, Tsypkin shared his story on several of Bend’s Facebook groups, hoping to connect with the community. What happened next he couldn’t believe. So many messages arrived in his inbox, he couldn’t respond to them all.
“Tons of people, sending messages privately and just offer their help,” Tsypkin said. “They invited me to climb and hike, run with them.”
He says he also received overwhelming support after his journey.
“I tell the story and they always smile at me and share their compassion and prayers for Israel,” he said. “It feels great, it’s a beautiful community here.”
Tsypkin says he going to make the most of his Central Oregon stay but hopes that a return home to see his family will become more possible in the coming months.
“I call my parents and my siblings every day,” he said. “Staying away for a few more months would be smarter and wiser. To let it cool down, and hopefully we’ll get a cease fire, and we can find like a solution for the conflict.”