Tag: Randy



29 Aug 15

By Randy Pierce

No trick! The safari information is below, but first I am sneaking in an update about my other dream (as if climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and taking an African safari weren’t enough!) One of my responsibilities’ for ensuring the success of 2020 Vision Quest is coordinating ticket sales for our Peak Potential Dinner on November 14. This is more difficult with my two weeks in Africa. I am hopeful we might reach our sell-out or come close before we depart on September 18. If you are thinking about tickets as an individual, couple or table of 8 friends, please consider making that purchase now and helping me with that goal!

Breathtaking view of the Serengeti. (Photo from www.climbkili.com.)

Breathtaking view of the Serengeti. (Photo from www.climbkili.com.)

We’ve shared the details of our climb  and the team and so now it’s time to talk a little about the other adventure on this trip. Given that it is unlikely I’ll ever return to Tanzania or possibly even Africa, there was no way I wanted to miss the opportunity to take a safari and experience the wonders beyond our mountain climb. Throughout my younger life, one of the epitomes of adventure was a jungle safari with lions, elephants, and the Serengeti plain as well! Through our Climb Killy guide service, we have chosen a 4-Day Safari to begin the day after we have finished climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and I expect it to be the perfect exclamation on a trip of a lifetime.

DAY 1: ARUSHA – SERENGETI

Wildebeest and zebra graze on the Serengeti plains. (Photo from www.climbkili.com.)

Wildebeest and zebra graze on the Serengeti plains. (Photo from www.climbkili.com.)

We’ll fly out of ARUSHA to get directly out onto the appropriate part of the SERENGETI. While the timing is not appropriate for the incredible herd migrations, we’ll be taking our journey to a known point of quality contact with some of the most exciting animals available on the plains. We’ll travel in well equipped and very safe vehicles to blend our safety and the opportunity to get close observations of these animals in their natural environs. Our safari works back towards our hotel over the four days and our first night will be at Kilima Valley Tented camp. It may seem like the Taj Mahal after our time tenting on the mountain!

DAY 2: SERENGETI

Next up is a full day in the Serengeti. We’ll explore the reserve looking for the big five: lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants and rhinos. I didn’t even know the “big five” before the safari but have a few additions like zebras, giraffes, and elephants of course! We again return to the Kilima Valley Tented Camp for a final night.

Gorgeous view of the Ngorongoro crater. (Photo from www.climbkili.com.)

Gorgeous view of the Ngorongoro crater. (Photo from www.climbkili.com.)

DAY 3: SERENGETI-NGORONGORO

Today we’ll follow game routes from Serengeti National Park to the Ngorongoro Highlands. Perched atop the infamous crater which hosts one of the most abundant wildlife retreats in the world we’ll prepare for our final day with a night at  the Ngorongoro Wildlife  Lodge. 

DAY 4: NGORONGORO – ARUSHA

We’ll descend down the crater 2000-ft for a full-day crater tour. This is the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world and as a result has become a breath-taking natural wonder. While our entire trip could likely be spent exploring the geographical and animal splendors of this region, we’ll have one long day before returning to Arusha for the end of incredible adventure!

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22 Aug 15

By Randy Pierce

Rob Webber

Rob Webber

“When he took time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself.”
–Tibetan Proverb

While the above proverb is quite likely true in many ways for our group, the basic message suggests that in our teamwork and support of each other, we can all achieve heights beyond our expectations. Once I determined Kilimanjaro was a goal, the most important next step was finding the right people to be part of the experience and team. That in itself was a longer and more interesting journey than I would have anticipated and I’m very pleased to report that I will be part of an excellent group of people.

Jose Acevedo

Jose Acevedo

The selection of those ten began with my intent to use the human guiding approach we developed during my quest to summit the 48. With that in mind, Rob Webber and Jose Acevedo were the first to officially join the team with me. There are many fantastic friends with whom I have hiked through the years and I’d have liked all of them to be able to join this expedition, but unfortunately that was not reasonable. We did feel that we needed at least two friends who have guided me and were comfortable not only with the task but with the impact my medical condition might cause for all of our chances at a successful summit. Rob is one of my longest and strongest friendships going back to our days at the University of New Hampshire together. He was my Best Man and brings  an intelligent, thoughtful patience to his excellent athleticism. He’s also taller than I am which is particularly beneficial when guiding me down from elevation as my hand on the pack appreciates that height to keep me from bending.

Jose meanwhile is “less tall” for the upward sections when I can more readily keep my hand on his pack as we ascend. I’ve known Jose for well over two decades. An excellent and charismatic leader with energy and endurance as we showed in winning the National Marathon Championship together. Both serve on the Board of Directors for 2020 Vision Quest and we were prepared to be the core of a team.

Greg Neault

Greg Neault

When Greg Neault and I discussed the trip. it quickly became clear to me our ever growing friendship and frequent hikes of the White Mountains provided a reason for me to inquire and he was immediately interested and eager to be part of the experience. Greg has a tremendous sense of adventure and matches my drive to believe things are possible with problem solving and determination. An excellent artistic eye and generous with his photography gifts, he has become the Social Media Manager for 2020 Vision Quest.

He also is a positive catalyst for expanding my own adventurous nature. In fact, he and Cathy “Wildcat” Merrifield were fundamental in my eventually entering into the Tough Mudder Nation. Perhaps that explains why Wildcat and her significant other, Frank Parrot, were soon welcomed into the growing team. Each have hiked with me in the past and have become steadily closer friends.

Cathy Merrifield and Frank Parrot

Cathy Merrifield and Frank Parrot

I’d met Cathy on a run with the Mighty Quinn in which a mutual acquaintance had us bounding over tricky roots while training for shorter races. I was proud to keep up with her and have come to value the entire Wildcat clan! Cathy has an infectious spirit of encouragement and courage as well as her own chronicling of adventures. Frank is the quiet technology presence who augments the silence with the deep thought behind the scenes. Perhaps the most difficult to get to know he also provided the most profound answer when our first training weekend had us sharing significant life experiences. Frank is the tallest member of the team and may help Rob with descent guiding as his own hiking prowess has grown as he details in his guest blog to Wildcats page. Frank’s photography skills and hiking determination may exceed the little detail that he might just be able to carry the entire team on his shoulders for short distances!

Tracy!

Tracy!

Cathy’s addition blazed the trail for my favorite addition and yes, I’m not only allowed but expected to have a favorite! My wife Tracy has been a fundamental part of my adventures as well as her own. She ensured Jose would not be the shortest member of the team while allowing me to have the person I’d most wish to share such epic life adventures right there beside me. Along with her taking the core planning of our actual trip into her ever immense list of responsibilities Tracy also best understands my blindness and the rest of my medical challenges. She’s a well grounded presence to aid the entire group but most especially my essential needs to best encourage success. Mostly though I’m just joyful that instead of missing her while away we’ll be sharing the experiences together and that is an essential way to live our lives.

Michelle Brier

Michelle Brier

While we might have halted at a lucky 7 in our group, we have built a few friendships through our strong connection to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Though Quinn and Autumn may top the canine lists of gifts from the wonderful organization,  our friendship with Michelle Brier is unrivaled. Her energy, enthusiasm, and creativity are welcome in all aspects of life, while her caring and giving nature help support a team. Her medical skills will be a tremendous asset for sure as will her subtle attention to the well-being of each individual along the way.

Through Michelle, Catherine “Cat” Orza joined us for what proved to be Quinn’s final hike and took the legendary photograph I’ll always treasure. It’s almost unfair that the youngest member of our team is renown for that photo instead of the hiking knowledge, fun-loving and easygoing kindness she also showcases. Yet another incredible athlete on our team, Cat’s also adding to the photographic prowess I decidedly lack.

Katherine "Kat" Orza

Catherine “Cat” Orza

Our final team member is a trainer at Guiding Eyes and that might be incredibly beneficial on many of our hikes where many dogs and most certainly my Dog Guides might be involved.  All the dogs are remaining home though and Maureen Mellett is  the least known to me of our group. She is a hiker with much familiarity working with the blind and some specifically for guiding. She was the first to positively respond to my request for those who would be willing to guide me on Kilimanjaro which speaks much about her approach. Ultimately though she’ll be some of they mystery we share as our experience goes forward. I know that she joins us with a very high recommendation from Michelle Brier and that’s enough to make our team a perfect 10!

Maureen Mellett

Maureen Mellett

While we all undoubtedly have our own reasons for undertaking the journey, we have a common purpose which unites us: we are all determined to do our utmost to ensure that all of us have every chance to reach the summit successfully. A common purpose will bring us together and undoubtedly a few challenges along the way may require we communicate and adjust approaches to best benefit the expedition. Overall though, we are all very committed to making the most of the experience. Every expectation is that the shared aspects of how each of us grows into the team and from the expedition will be part of our success. My hundreds of hikes have taught me to appreciate how much any individual can enrich the experience and how much the experience will bring any group together. While we will share our stories in words, images, and video, only we 10 will fully experience this expedition together and understand completely how it transforms all of us. I do wish I could have many others along with us but I’m reminded of William Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech, and so in the same sentence I would not wish for one man more for we few, we precious few, are enough.

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15 Aug 15

By Randy Pierce

Randy and team go through electric shocks in the Tough Mudder they did in March 2015.

Randy and team go through a series of electric shocks in the Tough Mudder they completed in March 2015.

Our adventures have often captured attention and earned us some remarkable media attention. They are, however, so very far from what we do and why we do it. Those adventures are entirely funded personally and we use the attention to hopefully draw focus to our real work. While this information and more is available for those who do explore our website, I wanted to highlight it for the readers of our blog and social media directly.

I once believed everything fun or important in my life was over. I thought I could not and would not have a life worth living. I made jokes and mostly treaded through waters of denial, frustration, and even anger. This is a far distance from the person I’ve become and I never want to forget the roots of those feelings when I first transitioned to blindness at the age of 22. What made the difference for me was the right people and the right perspective.

As I’ve since learned and often try to express, “Going blind is so much harder than being blind.” In fact, for any of us the first encounter with any challenge is so much more difficult than it is once we choose to plan a path for going forward. While there are countless friends and family in the fundamental part of my conversion, two organizations in particular deserve my appreciation and much of the efforts of 2020 Vision Quest. As such, we raise funds and proudly donate those funds to the NH Association for the Blind and, forever in honor of the Mighty Quinn, Guiding Eyes for the Blind. I hope through my efforts and the involvement of many to ensure the life changing services those organizations provide will always be available for the manyh who would benefit so greatly from those services. That’s the “why” behind the fundraising–and yet, still not our core mission.

Newmarket School 2013

Randy speaks at Newmarket School, 2013.

I have a goal to help every single person who might experience feelings similar to my own at that lowest time. I want to demonstrate by my actions and encourage through my words as well the notion of “choosing the right response to any adversity,” about believing in possibility and setting goals to continually strive to reach the peaks we all deserve. I especially wish to provide this opportunity and perspective to students of all ages and to enhance all of our communities by the building and sustaining of each individual into the teamwork which makes life and possibility more successful. I have been fortunate to earn and receive the support of so many people and organizations in a multitude of ways. Whether joining into the core team of volunteers for 2020 vision Quest, helping my own adventures, helping us connect to schools, businesses, and organizations to further our message, donating directly or by attending events like our Annual Peak Potential Dinner and Auction, there have been many transforming this message from an “I” into a “we.”

While it’s hard work and thousands of hours, it is also incredibly rewarding to observe the positive impact we have already had in our brief five years. There are times I’m tired from the adventures, the presentations, the organization and administration efforts and yet when I think of how high we still have yet to climb and what spectacular views await, I find it easy to reach out for this team to join together and continue our climb. I hope you’ll consider sharing this and joining the efforts in whatever way works for you.

(Coming next week: let’s talk about a smaller team as I introduce you to the Kilimanjaro Team heading to Africa on September 18!)

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8 Aug 15

By Randy Pierce

Why would a blind man climb a mountain? Recent sharing of my plans to join a group of friends in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro has caused some to raise that question once again. Several years ago I gave what I felt was a fairly powerful answer and I think now is a worthy time to share this once again. In addition to my perspectives of the time which remain true today, I simply believe there is so much benefit in being in the moment of experiences which are of value to you and doing your absolute utmost to find ways to fully appreciate every aspect of those many moments. It’s how I’ve lived much of my life and I still marvel at just how much reward I’ve received for taking this approach.

*****

“A Sense of the Summit”

By Randy Pierce

Originally posted on July 23, 2010

“Randy, as a blind person, what exactly is the thrill you get from the hiking to the summit of a mountain?”

I understand the dubious nature of that question even when posed by my well-intentioned friends. It is difficult for most sighted folks to fully comprehend my world without sight. I certainly did not and could not grasp the thought when I had vision. In my imagination, my idea of being blind was neither worse nor better than it actually is, just inaccurate.

Randy and Quinn at a waterfallIt isn’t that my other senses are any better than before I went blind. It’s that I pay better attention to my other senses now. In doing so, I have learned a little more of the language of scent, sound, touch, and taste. The enhancement that this new ‘language’ brings to all my experiences is astounding. Vision can be splendid and awe-inspiring, especially when considering the scenic views of nature found in the White Mountains. Vision can also be a distraction, hiding away some other hidden sensory gem of an experience.

In a poem entitled Thanatopsis, William Cullen Bryant wrote, “To him who in the love of nature holds / Communion with her visible forms, she speaks / A various language” I’m still getting better at appreciating the ”various language” of nature, but try to imagine some of this with me. The babbling brook is easy to hear and visualize, as is the rushing roar of a waterfall. Those experiences are powerful, single-sense perceptions. Standing on a trail and pausing for a rest, you feel the wind caressing your skin as it cools the moisture on your brow. The air carries upon it the scent of pine and the sound of branches rustling in the same breeze – not just the sound of the wind moving one branch or one tree but an entire forest in a symphony of subtle sound. With practice, you can even tell much about the type of forest within which all of this exists. In appreciation, a deep breath pleases the palette with crisp and fresh air – rife with flavor lost to a mind distracted by the stimulus of sight. If that sounds incredible, it is. Each trip, I encounter a few more of these moments, and yet each mountain, each moment, is different and speaks to the “surround sense” world which I am privileged explore.

Many experiences confirm the reward that entices me to the trails. I gain vast and rich experience through the eyes of my fellow hikers and through our mutual accomplishments. I crave the accomplishment of the summit and the bonds of community. I desire the mental reflection atop a summit with nothing above me and the world sprawled below. But most of all, I yearn for the chance to learn the deep and rich language of synesthesia for all my senses, within a wilderness that has so very much to say – if only I can learn to listen with all of the senses still available to me. In the ascent, the descent, the summit, and all along the journey, it is this full sense of the world that is my reward. What a “various language” indeed!

See the original post here.

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1 Aug 15

By Randy Pierce

Randy and Jose nearing the finish at their National marathon Championship victory in December 2014

Randy and Jose nearing the finish at their National marathon Championship victory in December 2014.

It’s so easy and fun to share success and celebration and so much more difficult to report on setbacks, failures and injury. Very often I can use determination, willpower, and perseverance to overcome many obstacles and achieve fantastic results. I think occasionally this creates an illusion for some that I do not get mired in frustration or failure at times. Right now I’m in the midst of one of those challenging times which has some ramifications I’m still exploring and trying to find ways to manage properly. I hope it may lend a beneficial perspective for people to get a look inside one of these difficult times for me.

Several weeks ago, I finished a run through Mine Falls which had gone poorly due to some type of stomach bug. As I recovered from that a few days later, I noticed my lower calf into the Achilles tendon was unusually tight. I worked at stretching it but it was fairly minor so I didn’t worry too much. A five-mile outside run with a friend had loosened it up nicely and alleviated my concerns. With Kilimanjaro looming, I broke in new hiking boots on a series of mountain climbs of ever-increasing duration and the tightness seemed manageable through those.

Yet, every faster run or hill-based run soon had the tightness returning and worsening. I have a fair bit of neuropathy in my legs which can mask pain, but soon it was clear to me that the Achilles was sensitive to the touch at an unacceptable level. It was relatively pain-free without my weight on it, but when would lean my knee over my feet with weight, that stretch would be very painful. Every morning I began to hobble a little more. When going down stairs, the back foot would really let me know it was unhappy. It was time for some professional medical explorations.

I halted all training, began a regimen of 4x’s-day ice and Achilles-specific massage while awaiting the appointments. Two weeks of rest with those treatments improved things notably but it hadn’t gone away.  The doctors initially suggested bilateral Achilles tendonitis and a specialist modified the diagnosis to bilateral Achilles tendinopathy. The physical therapy began that same day and continues for a bit of time still ahead.

The harder news is that this condition has an age component and I’m certainly getting older. Often this is not a curable situation as much as it is a managed care approach to minimize the impact. While it absolutely does not presently halt any of my athletic goals ahead, it does add a component of uncertainty.

Kilimanjaro remains absolutely certain at this point. It’s the California International Marathon and the USABA Championships which, while still likely, will require me to be very attentive to continually working with and adjusting a plan for managing the injury and easing into the right training for that injury. My original plan had August 3 as the start of my formal training, but I have not yet even been able to reach out to guides because of the uncertainty of how/when to begin training properly. I may still be a few weeks away from knowing more.

Friend and 2020 Vision Quest secretary John Swenson guides Randy through a water crossing on Mt Liberty.

Friend and 2020 Vision Quest secretary John Swenson guides Randy through a water crossing on Mt Liberty.

So, you may ask, how am I managing my approach?

Overall, I’m fine mentally and emotionally. There is certainly frustration, but I’ve already begun the shift of mentality to accepting my present condition and exploring every possible means to go forward successfully. Well, perhaps not every possible means, as while there are many marvelous home remedies folks might begin suggesting, I need to reasonably limit myself to a targeted plan that has earned my confidence. I’m on the path of that targeted plan right now and will continue to research and undertake with my full determination.

Does that mean I’m not still a little down when my foot hitting the floor each morning gives a little pain and tightness? Of course I feel that frustration, but now I’m as quick to reach for the leash and try the stretch techniques to help it improve and continue to heal. It’s the small steps forward with the long-term goal still in my vision but not overshadowing the need to attend to a lot of small details to manage the immediate challenge. After all, you don’t get to those glorious summits without learning how to manage all the twists and turns of the trail along the path, without learning to get up after each fall and without a little consideration for how to ensure we fall a little less along the way.

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18 Jul 15

By Randy Pierce

“Not above you, not beneath you but with you!” – Lions Toast

Randy installed as President of the Hudson, NH chapter of the Lions.

Randy installed as President of the Hudson, NH chapter of the Lions.

On July 1 Tracy and I began our one-year terms serving our Hudson NH Lions Club as Secretary and President. Why in the world would we put this additional honor and responsibility to our already busy schedules? Well, many have questioned my sanity for some time but I think the answer is a good one.

We both have been active members because the people who make up our club and most Lions clubs are simply caring, fun, and committed to making a positive difference in their community and towards easing the challenges of blindness. I’m constantly astounded when I hear reports of over 60,000 meals provided to those in need here in our community via the Anne Marie House we support. I’m proud of the benefit we bring to many aspiring college students who receive our annual scholarships. I’m touched with the number of members attending to support physically and fiscally events like Vision weekend, Lions Sight and Hearing, Camp Pride, and so many other community activities and needs. Visit the website and I think you too may be astounded at how much our one club manages. That alone is enough for me to want to lend my efforts as I’m able when they have need of my service and moreso when I consider that we are just one club of thousands. I believe Lions International represents the largest service organization in the world with roughly 1.4 million members.

Recent Lions scholarship recipients are honored. Pictured: Randy Pierce, Autumn, Carolyn Nichols, Anthony Holzhauser, Timothy Campbell and PCC Roger LaTulippe, Scholarship chair.

Recent Lions scholarship recipients are honored. Pictured: Randy Pierce, Autumn, Carolyn Nichols, Anthony Holzhauser, Timothy Campbell and PCC Roger LaTulippe, Scholarship chair.

Despite the strength of the membership locally and beyond, the reality is that maintaining membership and the ability to continue the great work requires people to step up and become fellow members, to volunteer their efforts at an event  and at times to take leadership roles. It is no surprise that as with every organization there are times when it feels like additional work.

There are times when we are tired and times when we disagree. Overall we create and maintain an attitude and atmosphere of support, encouragement and working together to create a team able to accomplish far more than we can do as individuals. We even manage to have a lot of fun along the way whether it’s a Cruise on the Mt. Washington, Cow Pie Bingo at Old Home Days one of the greatest gifts, giving the work or donation which changes a life in need.

Old Home Days and Cow Pie Bingo!

Old Home Days and Cow Pie Bingo!

As President, this year my motto is “Pride on the Path” for the drive to celebrate the work we do together, the inner community of our club and the journey we choose to take together. As part of my 2020 Vision Quest mission I strive to encourage us all to reach our Peak Potential and yet I realize the moments on our peaks are created by the work we make along the path.

So perhaps you might wish to join us for a meeting and understand more of what we accomplish. Perhaps you may wish to join us as a Lion or perhaps you are one of the many who are already helping us to do the great work or fun moments along the way. I hope you’ll at least consider how many people strive to make a positive impact in many different ways. Consider a well placed thank you to someone making your world better and think what heights we could reach by being part of a team with that in mind.

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11 Jul 15

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on the "rock couch" atop Mt. Piper

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on the “rock couch” atop Mt. Piper

By Randy Pierce

“True worth is in being, not seeming,–
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good–not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.”

-Alice Cary (from the poem “Nobility”)

While I have undertaken some marvelous adventures recently and have still more grandiose experiences just ahead, it is in the day-to-day freedoms in which I most fully celebrate Autumn’s gift to me. I delight in the majesty of a mountain summit, the euphoria of crossing a marathon finish or the jubilation of ringing the bell in the Tough Mudder for certain. The vast expanse of my life isn’t in those rare moments, but in a daily walk to celebrate morning’s coolness, weekly errands to stores, doctors, banks, presentations, meetings, or visits with friends. For all of these there are many ways I could undertake them such as sighted guide with my wife or a friend or independently tapping my way with my blind cane. The former is a dependency which infringes upon my freedom and the latter is significantly more limiting to me. This is why I celebrate what Guiding Eyes Autumn delivers to me each and every day. We have bonded into such a team that I take full independence in the “we” of any accomplishments while reveling in the companionship provided along the journey. We are so much more effective than my use of the cane and she provides such enthusiasm, affection, and pride of work into the process it makes life with her a very precious gift indeed.

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on a boat over Independence Day.

Randy, Tracy, and Autumn lounging on a boat over Independence Day.

We are just reaching our 16th month of working together and the leaps of progress in our teamwork are remarkable to me. Even though she is my third Dog Guide, it somehow still feels surprising and new to reach this point of clarity in our understanding and work together. Sure, she’s wowed me with back-to-back weekends of successful mountain hikes under her guidance, and yet I marvel most at our travels through the neighborhood, downtown, and into entirely new environments. When I take the harness into my hand and tell her to go forward, the common routines flow with a confident safety and surety which now allows my mind to think about my next blog post, plan a presentation flow, or even take a phone call in the more quiet areas because she has me in her attentive and well trained paws. A bit of this happens every single day on that morning stroll.

When taking bus to downtown Nashua, I manage the route but she handles the curbs, the sidewalk clutter, the passers-by and the unexpected dangers of construction with the confident grace which weaves my focus and our work into a true team. She proudly prances up to a door on request or to the edge of the stairs where I feel the harness turn as she looks back lovingly as many report to show me what a good girl I have in her. Every “good girl!” I deliver to her (and she is earning many) brings her ears up and a tail wag which shows me just how well she loves to be part of this team with me. This interdependence we share and all the itinerant joys of our lives is the most marvelous gift of all.

Autumn leads Randy through a parking lot.

Autumn and Randy hard at work.

You see, it is difficult to demonstrate the full measure of impact received by spending 24 hours each day, 7 days each week in the constant company and mutual support of another being. It is difficult to showcase the hours of my life gifted back to me in time saved along each route we traverse today. It’s possibly more challenging to highlight the relaxation and mental freedom I experience while Autumn guides me on our various errands throughout the weeks. Still most powerfully of all is my confidence that I have the ability and independence necessary to just live my life to the very fullest–and all the while I do so with the most devoted, caring, and playful puppy partner anyone could desire. I love my Autumn girl and thank her every day for the gifts she brings into my life directly and all of those fortunate enough to share a little time with her as well.

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4 Jul 15

By Randy Pierce

Fireworks

Happy Independence Day from 2020 Vision Quest!

David Letterman may have retired but we can still have a little summertime fun while reflecting upon the top things 2020 Vision Quest has meant to me. Perhaps you’ll have a different order or a few new items to share with us?

10. “Watching” fireworks on July 4, 2010…
…from atop Mt. Washington on our first hike of our quest!

9. The Peak Potential event of  2012
My Dad died that very morning and I needed all the love and support given to me by our community to get me through that night. We had so much to celebrate from the year and folks helped me do that while barely holding it all together.

8. Our final steps to the summit of Flume for our All-Season 48 finish
This was all the more special as Tracy, John, Quinn, and I shared the moment and those final steps together!

7. Ringing the bell for Oberto’s Hero of Summer at the Tough Mudder in LA!
A slightly selfish moment of appreciation for an accomplishment and experience which only happens when you are willing to truly reach beyond comfort zones with all that you can give to the experience!

6. National Championship at the California International Marathon 
Really? This takes sixth? It might even be lower except the teamwork and pride with Jose elevated the experience tremendously as did Tracy’s finish on the same day.

5. Atop Cannon Mountain for the final peak of my single Winter 48 completion
I still hear “Beautiful Day” playing and the cheers and laughter of a perfect winter day.

4. The Boston Marathon
Not just the finish but the entire experience leading to it, through it, and even the aftermath. I worked very hard for the goal and with a purpose well reported elsewhere. The pinnacle moment for me was cresting Heartbreak Hill but I applaud the entire experience.

3. Quinn’s legacy of achievement, dedication, and devotion
Hard to believe this isn’t number one as the boy is certainly top in my heart always. His impact to 2020 Vision Quest will always be integral to our success.

2. Feeling the steady growth and considerable support of an inspired community of friends old and new
I did not have the vision to fully appreciate how many people and places would find our work resonates so well for them.We’ve accomplished so much together and for me the lesson is clear that it’s always the people who matter the most… and for me pups are people too!

And the #1 aspect of 2020 Vision Quest for me thus far has been:

1. Knowing the positive impact of our school presentations on over 42,000 students and counting!
I never realized how much this part of the quest would positively impact our world and me personally. It is the heart of our entire mission to me. When the work is overwhelming in various ways or other challenges emerge, I always come back to the letters from students and teachers to build my strength and my belief that what we do is worth every bit of effort and more.

The truth is there are so many other worthy moments from learning to ski with Brent Bell, Century bicycle rides, Owl’s Head slide, Mt. Welch, Ms. Autumn’s arrival, and so many more. Hiking with Tedy Bruschi didn’t make this list? Winning an Emmy Award with Willem Lang and Windows to the Wild? What about the release of “Four More Feet” and the incredible friendship of Justin and Dina? Well, that’s why maybe all of you might share a different moment or aspect of what we do. I can tell you that handing a donation to Guiding Eyes and NHAB every year is an important foundation of our mission and one from which I take a great amount of joy as well.

The reality is we are now over half way to the year 2020 from our inception and I could not be prouder of the team and community helping us to reach for and achieve this dream every day. Thank you and Happy Independence Day to all of us celebrating our independence in so many varied ways.

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27 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

I am thrilled to have been invited to provide a TEDx Talk and certainly believe the result is a video well worth watching. I deliver several of the more poignant messages I believe are simply valuable to any of us in our lives. I share a few of the more fun anecdotal demonstrations of those messages and the comfort with which I can present to any audience. The conference theme emphasized “community” while my presentation put its focus primarily upon “Reaching our Peak Potential.”

“…it rocked the entire audience of 130 people. There were farmers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, artists from young to old… Everyone felt that Randy was talking to them. It was a profound experience.”
– Celeste Barr, Beaver Brook Association

I hope all of you reading this are already aware that we provide corporate presentations and keynote addresses. I also hope you will consider sharing this with every appropriate business and organization who might benefit from having us visit. We believe that the success of our charity directly depends on our ability to earn an honorarium to 2020 Vision Quest by providing such presentations. We are confident it’s a great value and significant benefit to those who attend our presentations as well as ensuring the work we do with students will continue. It must all begin with the choice you make to refer us or invite us to such presentation opportunities.

Once you experience our TEDx Talk above and realize how many more messages we will deliver powerfully to each presentation, I hope you won’t delay in helping us with this outreach. It’s simply an idea worth sharing, which is the motto of TED. Given that, I’ll leave you with the mission statement for TED and simply share how very proud and fortunate I feel for being a part of the TEDx community. Thank you to TEDx Amoskeag Millyard and to many others who have believed in the benefit of my presentations. I hope you too will be part of that team.

The TED Talk  Mission: Spread ideas

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.

 

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20 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

“When is the last time you did something for the first time?” – shared at Mt. Snow Tough Mudder and every tough Mudder

TEAMwork at the tough mudderThere is something invigorating and life changing for many of us when attempting something new or facing a particularly poignant challenge. I believe this is amplified when you undertake it as a team due to the power of giving and receiving support along that course. This is the essence of the gifts available during a Tough Mudder. Recently I undertook my third Tough Mudder, all within the last year and all filled with different aspects of the same rewarding result.

I am by no means suggesting that a Tough Mudder is the snake oil cure for all which may ail you. I am, however, confident it is one avenue amongst many for you to challenge yourself to undertake something new, something difficult for you perhaps and most importantly to be part of a team in which you may in equal measure give and receive support towards the goal. I’ve blogged about the Power of Purpose previously and now I cannot well enough express how much I value the rewards of “Team” and how pleased I was to have a school share with me the acronym: Together Everyone Achieves More.

In order to illustrate this in our recent June 7 Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow Vermont, I think it best to refer you to the words of one of my teammates in her blog about the entire experience. Her photos, words and obvious emotional impact highlight the above point as powerfully as any of my own words. Thank you Cathy Merrifield and to our entire team!

Read and be inspired by Cathy’s blog!

 

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