By Randy Pierce
In this, our first full season of hiking ‘the 48’ in order to raise awareness for 2020 Vision Quest, we have set some lofty goals. For a variety of reasons, we have scheduled 16 peaks to attempt this year! Success is not achieved merely by adding the mountains to our schedule. There is hard work and planning to do, but there is an element of luck to consider, as well. There will be times when a particular summit on a particular day will be more than we can achieve as a team. Some of the ambition in our planning is to increase our potential for success.
Another significant reason for our aggressive schedule is that, in my pursuit of being the first known blind person to reach all these peaks, I very much hope to include Quinn in this success. He is so fundamental in my inspiration and ability to undertake this goal that I will make every reasonable effort to ensure he can be a part of it. Unfortunately, his hiking career is likely to be shorter than any of us would prefer, and I am determined to involve him only while he still loves to hike. This means that over the next few years, when he is young, agile, and eager, I wish to have us both savor the experience as fully as possible. Therefore, if we somehow manage to have good weather, and if our skills hold out well enough through this season, I will delight in each success we earn.
From May through October, we will undertake many different challenges, from remote Owl’s Head to difficult Mount Adams; these along with many others will soon be listed on our website. Our 2011 schedule has already generated many inquiries from those who wish to join us on a hike. While we may not be able to hike with everyone, we do want to have the opportunity to share our experiences and the amazing work Quinn does with as many as possible. We are not guides, nor do we teach folks how to hike in the White Mountains. People with enough experience to be comfortable and confident on a hike can request to join us. If you are interested, send me an email and share your experience with us. We will take that information and determine if there is a summit attempt that works well for all of us. That said; hiking with me requires an understanding and acceptance of the unique challenges involved. It is not an easy undertaking and I understand that it is not for everyone. If you do join us, I believe you will find the experience to be an incredible one. I hope to learn and grow from each person who chooses to accompany us.
As the winter still leaves us time for training, we have plans to hike a few smaller peaks for conditioning purposes as well as enjoyment. When May arrives, however, you can expect that we will have plenty of hiking adventures to share. I hope many of you come along to tell us what we might expect on the trails, hear our experiences, and encourage others in attempting all the summits of the mountains and of life!