By Randy Pierce
For 2020 Vision Quest, it all began with a desire to walk, then walk in the woods, and finally to take it to higher summits still! For the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) it began with a desire to ease a burden on the most accessible and often over hiked summits while gifting the community with a richly rewarding series of majestic mountains previously overlooked. That was a significant part of the motivation behind the AMC creating the “NH 48 Club.”
Since that time, just over 10,000 people have joined the all-season version while just 550 have achieved the feat in winter. They do not recognize the much smaller list who have accomplished this in a single winter.
On April 12, 2014, the AMC holds their annual Awards night to celebrate the newest members of the club. Five members of 2020 Vision Quest will officially celebrate this accomplishment as John Swenson joins the Pierce family (Tracy, Randy and the Mighty Quinn) in having completed the achievement. This quartet reached the summit of Mt. Flume on August 24, 2013 for their 48th and final All-Season, although Randy and Quinn had their single winter summits already under their feet. Fellow Volunteer Rick Stevenson joined their ranks on November 9 with his final peak of the list. Congratulations to the many who have reached this goal and to those many somewhere along the path!
For my part, I hope and expect that hiking will remain a treasured opportunity to appreciate a little mountain therapy with cherished friends. There’s an allure to the majestic mountains which calls to all of us in various voices. I chose to hike as the gift of walking was freshly returned to me. I chose to share it with the world through 2020 Vision Quest because it allowed us to support the higher mission of our charity work. Having bid so very sad a farewell to the Mighty Quinn, I may not ever know whether Autumn or any other Guide Dog will lead me up peaks. I’m sure the many incredible friends past, present, and future may have a role in my journey just the same… but… the early signs with Autumn have shown some promise and as I’ve learned well, it’s all about the journey, not the destination – even for a part-time Peak Bagger like me!