by Randy Pierce
When I first thought to undertake the “48” back in 2010, it was intended as a leisurely ten-year goal. This was, in part, where the name 2020 Vision Quest came from. Since then, my desire to accomplish this goal with the incredible work of Quinn has encouraged me to set a more rapid pace to keep with his healthy working career time.
Our next hike, the Hancocks, includes two summits, which would bring our total accomplishment number, since the founding of the charity, to 16. This is exactly 1/3 of the way to our goal in the hiking portion of our quest. Last year, our official start began later, and we managed only five summits. This year, we have already achieved 9 of the tall peaks. Unquestionably, we have continued to learn a tremendous amount and have improved our skills in the process. As a result, this is the first hike in which the original plan called for an overnight, but we intend to attempt it as a day hike. It is a reasonably long hike, but we believe we have become efficient enough to undertake it in a single day. There are many factors that have improved our progress, and as our story unfolds, those lessons are being shared steadily.
Finding leadership for this higher paced schedule is definitely more challenging. This is part of the reason we can benefit tremendously from having the skill to undertake longer day hikes. Overnights add a host of additional factors, including fewer folk willing to act as a Hike Leader for a 2020 hike. We could definitely benefit from a few more leaders reaching out to us, and we are doing our part to make that more manageable.
Yet as I prepare for the North and South Hancock hike, I feel a swell of both hope and pride. Much as John Hancock put his memorable mark upon the Declaration of Independence, success on these two mountains feels like a transition point to me. I feel like we are putting our own stamp upon our ability to succeed on this project. I know there are many more challenges ahead and the potential for significant setback as well. Even these two peaks, with particularly steep scrambles up and down along the loop trail, provide the potential to block our progress. Still, I feel the confidence to believe in the possibility of a lofty mountain goal.