A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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A Hiking Season in Review…
29 Sep
By 2020
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By Carrie McMillen

Randy & Carrie's 1st hike together on Mt. Welch 5/1/10

It’s been an incredible season with 2020.

I’ll be honest – I started out this summer with a lot of nerves. When there is a bunch of unknowns out there, one tends to make up scenarios in your head about what could happen (I think I’ve shared some of those qualms here before). Will we actually summit anything? Will we get stuck in the middle of nowhere and have to be evacuated? How do I keep Randy or Quinn from slipping on the mossy rocks? Do people think we’re insane?

Now, as we prep for Mt Pierce, I feel surprisingly calm. I think it’s because I’m confident in the people around us and in Quinn and Randy’s techniques. The amount of strength in Randy, Quinn, and in our entire team astounds me.

Having never hiked with Randy, Quinn, or the team before May of this year, I am amazed at the differences between then and now. My two favorite moments from this summer encapsulate my pride in that strength:
-The conversation at Lake of the Clouds where we decided it was too risky to descend Mt Washington – on that hike, I witnessed Randy admitting he couldn’t do something for the good of himself and for the good of the team. Also, the group became stronger by being smart and by honestly looking at our limitations.
-Attending to Randy’s two injuries just below Mt Field – the team reacted super quickly to a bit of gore and bruising and each person took a unique role to ensure we had a safe hike down. We learned urgency, safety, first aid skills, and teamwork here.

So this is what I come away with at the end of the season:

I am amazed at the strength and determination in our team, in the hikers, and the friends we have had along the way.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and hike with people who carry extra gear, who wait patiently around the next bend, who brainstorm solutions for the challenges we are facing. These are the kinds of people who put the mission before themselves – through patience and kindness. I can’t thank you all enough.
Yes, we have a few more mountains to climb! Mt Pierce should be a great celebration of our accomplishments and strengths from this summer and I am looking forward to welcoming some new hikers to our team this weekend. I’m sure we haven’t seen even a portion of the challenges on the other peaks that lie ahead – after Pierce, more await us next summer in terms of weather, potential injuries, and rocky trails.

Will these things worry me as they did this summer?
Yes…but thankfully, not quite nearly as much as before!

3 responses to “A Hiking Season in Review…”

  1. Sue Jackson says:

    How is it that I ended up on the summit of Mt. Pierce at the same time as Randy and his 2020 Vision Quest hiking crew? I had just learned of Randy and his quest the day before, and am continuing in my stunned amazement that we summitted thiis peak at the exact same moment on 10/2/10. As a fellow hiker who is attempting to bag all 48 peaks, I am amazed at his ability to hike these challenging mountains blind. I know that there is a synchonistic reason for that experience yesterday, and look forward to what I will experience next due to having met Randy and his crew. I have spent some time on your website, followed the links, and am enriched by having done so. I have spent my adult life supporting and empowering people with developmental disabilities and learning difficulties. I want you to come and talk with the students and adult at my school, and will certainly be in touch!

  2. Randy says:

    Hi Sue!

    It was fantastic meeting you at the top of Pierce and quite a bit of Serendipity. I am entirely enthused with the potential to talk with your students. As I mentioned to you on the summit, I hope to reach far more people than summits with our message. You have my email and I’ll look forward to scheduling an opportunity with you soon. There is the matter of my wedding to Tracy *THIS* Sunday first of course!

    Thank you for your kind words here and on the Mountain. I look forward to talking with you again.

  3. Kyle Dancause says:

    Agreed. Let’s get Randy and Quinn to Oyster River.

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