Believe and Achieve!
On August 24, 2013 Randy and Quinn Pierce climbed to the summit of Mt. Flume and back on a spectacular late-summer day, completing their original
quest to climb the NH 48. Their journey logged a total of over 340 trail miles and over 110,000 feet of elevation gain. Now, some seven years ahead
of the scheduled goal--done! The non-winter version of the NH 48—with its twisty, rocky, root-filled trails—holds plenty of challenge for the foot
not guided by sight. But when the team stepped out of the woods and off the Liberty Spring trailhead that Saturday afternoon, this amazing
accomplishment was in the books. Randy is the first blind person ever to complete this feat, and Quinn the first Guide Dog.
The accomplishment actually means that they completed their second round of these mountains in 37 months, as the team used the easier footing
of winter in their historic single-winter-season summit of all these peaks from December 21, 2011 through March 10, 2012, as featured in the
documentary film Four More Feet.
Randy reflects on some of the most impactful and inspiring moments along the trails of this trek:
"How do I select just a few moments from an epic experience that provided such depth to the preponderance of marvels? I can only do so with
a clear disclaimer that I feel compelled to share marvelous moments with our community. Also, with the certainty that the whole of it was even
greater than the sum of its parts . . . and those parts are each still astounding to me. Here are a few:
- Standing beside Lakes of the Clouds Hut on Independence Day 2010, less than five years removed from having been confined to a wheelchair,
I had just acknowledged that our very first official hike for 2020 Vision Quest was going to be a "failure." We had already reached the summit
of Monroe and would reach Washington the next day, but we would choose not to hike out. That was a failure? Right from that moment I knew that
we could and would make the right choices every step of the way as a result. Better still, we followed up that group decision by watching a
sunset from the hut that I will never forget. Its details are a pivotal part of my school and corporate presentations – a part which I’m told
is among the most powerful points I can provide.
- Joining in a chorus of America the Beautiful from atop Mt. Liberty, with our flag waving in the wind, for Flags on the 48 (September 2010).
- Sitting inside Greenleaf Hut--warm and dry as torrential rains and multiple strikes of red lightning assaulted the ridge--while Nat Scrimshaw
shared a story of his friendship with the legendary Guy Waterman (May 2011).
- Exhausted, feet hurting significantly, and out of both food and water, we finished descending the Falling Waters trail off of Franconia Ridge
to an incredible surprise: Tracy was at the trailhead with a grill loaded with steak tips and coolers filled with ice, Gatorade and a few other
special beverages! Did I mention the folding chairs, salty chips and a congratulatory kiss? (May 2013).
- Best Dam Carter Dome Team – We did the Nineteen-Mile Brook/Carter Dome trail twice on back-to-back trips earlier this summer, and both hikes
had great people and great moments. Both ended with the whole team soaking sore feet in a stream, the last time in icy-cold water at the dam on
the Nineteen-Mile Brook trail (July 2013).
- Sunset on West Bond, followed directly by sunrise on Mt. Bond – an amazing camping weekend in the Bonds! (August 2012).
- Quinn leaping over my head and into the water at Thoreau Falls before our Zealand ascent. (August 2012).
- Bob Dunn driving to the top of Mt Washington to arrive as our Spot GPS tracker told him we were nearing the summit! His voice atop the summit
was surreal and rejuvenating. (July 2010).
- Kyle guiding me to the top of Passaconaway in record time with our first packless summit surge. (June 2011).
Randy continues: “The end of the official hiking is far from the end of our real quest, but we’re poised on a marvelous pinnacle of accomplishment.
From this vantage point, I have a vision of just how much more we might accomplish–and as it has been throughout, much of that accomplishment hinges
on those who share a belief in our mission and message. How much can you help share our message, support our cause and join our team?
We’ve already met our tagline many times and in many ways: “Achieve a Vision Beyond your Sight!” Vision did not end with the loss of my sight, nor
does it end with the accomplishment of this particular quest. It begins with each choice that helps us grow our community of support, and as such
it begins with you all for what you’ve done, and what you might do next, to be a part of our team. Thank you for sharing this vision!”