Waumbek



27 Jul 11

Randy and Quinn on the trail.

by Randy Pierce

Our July New Hampshire heat wave is not untypical, nor is the choice to seek some solace from the heat by hiking amidst the elevation of a 4000-foot peak. Aware of the real dangers of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, we were relieved to have an early morning shower easing the challenge and risk. Our task was to hike a longer distance on some generally moderate trails to the summit of Mt. Starr King and then along the ridge to Mt Waumbek. The mostly wooded course would limit the relief of wind on our long humid hike, and we expected the heat to be our larger challenge.

Mt. Waumbek is part of a ring dike complex, which means it was formed by volcanic activity. In fact, it bore Pliny Major as its name for many years in honor of Pliny the Younger, a Roman who provided the only written eyewitness testimony of the infamous eruption on Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Vesuvius, at 4206 feet, is a similar height to our climb, and the tale of James Holman humbles each and every one of my efforts. He was the first blind person to summit Mt Vesuvius and he did so while it was still active. The tale of his life is remarkable, and during that particular expedition, he dealt with a fair bit more than our July jaunt in the White Mountains.

Team 2020 - Waumbek!

Still I’m quite proud of the nine friends who joined Quinn and me, and overcame the heat of our journey. A diverse group shared a collection of wilderness and life details as we took up the steady climb to the Chimney overlook of the Northern Presidentials from the summit of Starr King. One of the gentlest ridge trails brought us to a vastly restricted view from the wooded summit of Waumbek. While the light breezes did cool some, the heat was steady from the high noon sun. As we returned at a comfortably quick pace, we left the elevation-gained coolness. As a group, we had plenty of water and we supported each other well, yet as we reached the relief of the trailhead, I could still feel the light touch of some heat exhaustion. I needed an electrolyte boost and the cooling benefit of an ice pack on the back of my neck to regain full comfort.

Even one of the gentler challenges of the 48 teased us with a lesson in respecting all factors that can place a hiking group risk. I’m certainly no James Holman, and unlike him, I had a fantastic team of support throughout this day. I respect and appreciate the experience with the people and the mountain, as well as all of the hikes past and in the future. Each hike to come will have unique rewards and challenges, and Mt. Waumbek has now carved out its place on our path!

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19 Jul 11

by Rachel Morris

It’s not too early to save the date (and buy your tickets) for this year’s Peak Potential Charity Dinner & Auction, in celebration of 2020 Vision Quest’s 2011 season.

Peak Potential 2010 was a huge success for us and this year promises to be even bigger and better! We’re returning to The Derryfield in Manchester, NH, with its beautiful views of the Derryfield Country Club, on Saturday, November 12. We kick off the event with hors d’oeuvres and a preview of our auction items at 6:30pm, with dinner seating at 7:00pm. Festivities run until 11:00pm. Ticket prices are $100 each, or $175 per couple. For the best price, you and seven friends can grab a table of your own for $600 ($75 per person).

Last year’s menu was popular enough that we’re sticking with it – you have a choice of Pan Roasted Salmon, Cranberry Walnut Chicken, Prime Rib, or a vegetarian Spinach Stuffed Tomato. There’s a cash bar available and we’ll have DJ Will Utterback returning to keep things hopping with music from the 60’s to today.

Peak Potential 2010, courtesy of Green Photography: http://green-photography.net/

Our auction includes numerous silent auction items and a few special “package” deals that will be bid on in a live auction during the dinner, with Randy (and Quinn) as our auctioneers. If you or your business has something to donate for the auction, let us know. Some of our most sought after items are event tickets, travel related items, meals at a favorite restaurant, spa services, and so on. Not sure if it’s right for us? Ask!
Randy will give a presentation covering some of 2020 Vision Quest’s most memorable moments of the 2011 season, including the following:
•       The mountains summited this year
•       Quinn’s momentous Tug-of-War victory over Patriot star Tedy Brushy at the top of the Belknaps
•       What it means to be able to speak to area children about achieving through adversity
…and more.

All these things have been possible with the generosity of our donors, and through fundraising events such as this one. Buy your tickets online or by mailing a check to us at 2020 Vision Quest, 109 E. Glenwood Street, Nashua, NH  03060 (be sure to tell us it’s for Peak Potential and let us know your meal choices). Join us in this year’s celebration!

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11 Jul 11

by Drew Bourn

I first met Randy a little over 20 years ago, and in the last 7 years or so, we have become very good friends. Both of us were active in athletics as kids and adults, and this was immediate common ground for conversations. Later, we started going to Patriot games together and Randy has come to my school (I teach PE and Health) a couple of times to talk to my students. When Randy told me about starting up 2020 Vision Quest a few years back, I thought it was a great idea. He is always one to take on challenges, and this was a big one.

Randy’s enthusiasm was tangible from the beginning, and I very much wanted to be involved, so I signed up for the Mount Pierce hike last year.

Team 2020 at the hut on Pierce last year. The author, Drew, is in the light gray coat.

Not being a huge fan of camping, a day hike like this was perfect for me. I knew a few others in the group that day, and while it was a long hike, it was a great trip. It was my first time hiking in the Whites, and it was just a wonderful experience. I looked forward to doing at least one hike every year with 2020 Vision Quest.

Little did I know that Randy had bigger plans. This year, he asked me to lead to the Mount Waumbek hike. At first, I wasn’t sure that I was the right person. After all, my first (and only) hike in the Whites was the previous year. Randy can be persuasive, however. He pointed out that I help lead 50+ students up Mount Monadnock in Jaffery, NH each year. Of course, this was also going to be a one-day event as well, making prep a little simpler. Finally, Mount Waumbek is one of the smallest 4,000-foot peaks at 4,006 feet, making the hike an “easier” climb. How could I not say yes?

There really is no such thing as an “easier” or “simpler” hike. Each trip into the mountains and woods has unique difficulties and areas for concern. In leading, I am taking on the responsibility of not only myself, but also the whole group of 10 (11 with the Mighty Quinn). This time I will only know Randy, Tracy, and Quinn. However, Chris Garby, an experienced hiker, is co-leading the hike with me. I’m sure his knowledge and experience will be very useful during the trip. The rest of the group is not strangers so much as friends I just haven’t met yet. In addition, sharing a beautiful trip into the Whites is a great way to get to know others.

If I have learned anything from Randy over the course of our friendship, it is that all challenges, big and small, should be met with a positive attitude and a willing work ethic. No matter what the challenge is, taking it on leads to a better sense of self and stronger relationships with those involved. Of course, if this hike is a great time as well, I’m sure Randy will try to convince me to do an overnight hike next year.

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