Archives - January, 2012

30 Jan 12

Today on the blog, we at 2020 Vision Quest would like to bring you a story. It is one of those “found” stories of uncertain origin, and we hope it will provide a bit of inspiration to your day. Enjoy!


Two men, both seriously ill, shared a hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours each day, about their wives and families, their jobs, where they had been on vacation. They shared their lives’ successes and disappointments, even their fears that they might never leave the room again.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water, while children sailed their model boats.

Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine these picturesque scenes.

The man on his back began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

Weeks passed.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the man by the window painted it with words. And he looked forward to the day that he might leave the hospital, even if just to sit in the park on a sunny day, or once again taste cotton candy while a parade passed.

The next morning, the nurses arrived to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and carefully moved his bed and array of monitors next to the window.

He was eager to enjoy his new window on the world, and over his nurse’s objections, slowly, painfully propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. He strained, slowly turning to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a brick wall.

The man was shocked to think that this man who he had grown to consider a friend — with whom he had shared his most personal feelings! — had lied to him.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

And then she said, “Perhaps he was a better friend than you ever realized.”


23 Jan 12

By Randy Pierce

I do not tend to run short of dreams, goals, and “vision,” though using that last term latter does seem ironic. I am certainly honored by how many people have contributed to my attempts to achieve these objectives.

What is surprising for some is when they realize that often the greatest exuberance comes from helping others find their own hopes and dreams and begin to turn them into reality. I’m sometimes surprised and always delighted to receive a note or comment about the ways our project has inspired someone to undertake a difficult path. This indirect inspiration is highly motivational, perhaps most of all in encouraging me to be aware of my deliberate choices and expressions of support for the goals of others. If my actions can be so impactful indirectly, how much moreso when I act intentionally?

Yet, I find that too often the people closest to us are the least likely to attentively give this support and, with equal significance, avoid giving discouragement. Is someone dear to you thinking about going back to school, learning a trade, learning a language, or perhaps even something as simple as planning and taking a vacation? Are they hoping to alter their life choices in a more positive direction? If so, what will you say or do to encourage them?

The answer to that question is as powerful a statement about you as you may ever make. While speaking at a Melrose school last fall, I heard their slogan for TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. I instantly loved the notion and I now apply it to the idea of supporting those around us to find and achieve their goals.

I know that but for a few simple words and deeds by some incredible people, I might never have undertaken some of the finest moments in my life. So this week I wanted to focus on this idea for myself and hopefully for all of you. You all have that powerful potential in your future. I entreat you to remember that the next time you have the choice whether or not to encourage someone to pursue their dreams. You may find that lending your support will have the added bonus of inspiring yourself as well as the person you encourage.


16 Jan 12

By Randy Pierce

Quinn is a master climber as he leads Randy up a treacherous path.

Our winter hikes on the “NH 48” have begun in earnest and have been very successful so far. We have already traversed a number of peaks, with our most impressive achievement this winter to date being our climb of seven summits of over 4000 feet in four days. More than 40 miles and over 10,000 feet of elevation gain is simply a respectable challenge for most people; we have accomplished this and significantly more as winter has barely begun to overtake the White Mountains. Our challenges have been significant–the trail-heads are generally bare ground or icy coated rocks, which makes the hikes more difficult. They transition above 2500 feet to several feet of snow with a narrow snow shoe trail broken through where other hikers may have passed. While the snow often makes the going easier, that transition has some steep and slippery points with hidden foot traps throughout. These are not the ideal conditions to make climbing easier for me or my guide dog Quinn.

Quinn’s fame is growing both along the network of trails and in the cyberspace network which carries the tale of the tail-wagging wonder who is guiding a totally blind man to the top of peak after peak during the White Mountains winter 2012 season. To be certain, the accolades are well deserved as our speed and efficiency continue to increase and the number of peaks begin to fall beneath our feet.

"Has Dad found someone else?"

In that four-day span, Garfield, Tom, Field, Willie, Liberty, Flume and Moosilauke were added to Tecumseh, Jackson, Hale, and Cabot on our winter season’s summit success stories. An assortment of different hikers have joined us on the various hikes and we’ve met an significant number of fantastic people upon the trails. Many of those who witness the marvel of Quinn’s work are astounded by the dedication and ability he possesses. What many may not realize is that in our group, there is a battle for top dog.

It is not with Dusty, the recent rescue pup of Bob and Geri Hayes, though he is admittedly a little marvel in his own right. His boundless energy in surging ahead on every trail to the extent of his 20-foot leash or his near-constant darting into the side woods to plunge his rodent-sniffing nose after every squirrel scent with rarely a moment delay in our progress.

It is in fact Bob Hayes who is battling it out with Quinn for “top dog.” Not only does Bob bring a fair bit of hiking experience and motivation into our undertaking, he also brings a supportive human guide element to particularly tricky areas and many of the descents when we need or want to increase our speed.

Randy, Bob, and the Mighty Quinn make the best team!

Bob’s and my teamwork has continued to improve our communication and efficiency. Using techniques such as putting my hand upon his pack so I can follow along behind him have helped us traverse vast sections of trail in times better than the AMC book suggests for those regions. We have developed an endurance of work which has far surpassed any prior guiding efforts, and in the case of Mt. Hale actually involved virtually jogging the entire descent of the trail for a summit-to-car travel time of an incredible 2 hours and 15 minutes!

Each person accompanying or encountering us for any length of time upon these wilderness excursions will undoubtedly catch a different part of our experience. Many have provided me with encouragement and inspiration in various ways, for which I am incredibly appreciative. As for who will be “top dog”: the simple fact is that both Bob and the mighty Quinn share honors as my guides, both outstanding in their own ways. They have my full gratitude for their willingness to team up with me and make this incredible journey possible.

How many thousands of feet of elevation we climb, miles of trail we cover, or simple number of peaks we achieve this winter will be determined as the winter unfolds. I already know full well how much I love the experience and celebrating our joys and accomplishments together!

Team portrait!


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