A California man is giving Forrest Gump a run for his money, walking up the Golden State in a 400-mile trek from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The mission is made even more unique because he’s wearing a teddy bear-style suit, and has already raised over $11,000 for an undetermined charity with the quest.
Jesse Larios set out from downtown L.A. on April 12 on a whim, with sights set on reaching the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran, KNTV reports. The 33-year-old Angelino created the animated-like character he’s named Bearsun about five years ago, and decided it was high time for a big trip.
"It was an impulsive decision for sure. I didn't plan it out," Larios told Reuters of the hike.
The walker originally planned to march between 35 and 40 miles per day, making the journey in about a week, but realized the road ahead was longer than originally anticipated due to some unexpected detours. Larios said he’s not in a rush, however, and has enjoyed making meeting new people along the way.
The man will stop in supermarkets to pick up a bite to eat, or meet up with a friend for a supply drop for food, KNTV reports. When it’s finally time to sleep, he’ll cuddle up in the suit wherever he winds up at the end of the day.
"It's warm, it's padded," he joked of the outfit.
Highlights so far include a requisite stop at In-N-Out Burger, and befriending a deputy from the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Department. Larios said that strangers have also been struck by the lighthearted adventure, and explained why he’s glad to spread positivity during this time.
"It's good to see people, first of all," he told KNTV. "Second of all, it's good to see them smiling, especially after last year, all these unfortunate events that we had to go through."
As Bearsun keeps walking, he’s also raising money for a good cause. Larios started a GoFundMe to promote the hike, with plans to donate the money to a charity or a nonprofit, the choice of which has not yet been disclosed. As of Friday morning, fans of the friendly-looking bear have donated over $11,000.
"I just want to help people out," Larios said of the mission.