To Celebrate My 82nd Birthday, I Went to the Highest Point in the Northeastern U.S.
Posted on August 18 2016
Oleda and her husband, Richard, on the summit
of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, 6288 ft.
(Wind 37 MPH, Temp. 48ᵒF, 92ᵒ at the base)
Why do People Climb Mountains
To quote Mountaineer George Mallory as he was climbing Mt. Everest in 1923, “Because it’s there.” Mallory perished the following year on Everest. His body wasn’t found for 75 years. His legacy of big mountain climbing remains to this day.
Another reason for climbing a mountain is to conquer a challenge. Climbers say it presents mental and physical challenges played out in some of the most beautiful places on Earth and provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Some others say they do it because they can.
But a significant purpose behind one climb was the one by my friend, Marc Middleton, Founder and President of Growing Bolder Media, who, at age 62, joined a group of sixteen cancer survivors and advocates in their climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in conjunction with Livestrong and filmed the documentary, Conquering Kilimanjaro.
The experience demonstrated four main principles of Life:
- We are stronger than we know
- Life is worth fighting for
- Love is the most powerful force of all
- We all need help and support
For more about this extraordinary film and the great people at Growing Bolder go to www.growingbolder.com and search Mt. Kilimanjaro.
My Guide to the Summit
OK....Full Disclosure :)
We didn’t hike to the top (after all, Richard is 81 J), but we did have a great guide, Richard’s grandson, Patrick Scanlan, who drove the eight-mile treacherous road with hairpin curves, sheer drop-offs and no guardrails. It was beautiful and thrilling.
We reached a parking area from which there are 9 or 10 flights of stairs to a landing point about thirty feet from the summit. From there we climbed a pile of rocks to reach the sign you see in the picture.
All the while and later as we toured the museum there, Patrick gave us inside information about the mountain, for which he is well qualified.
Patrick is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with degrees in Kinesiology and Outdoor Education and Environmental Conservation. He worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club as a backcountry site manager in the White Mountains where he associated with US Forest Service avalanche specialists. He is trained in mountain rescue, risk management and snow science, and he has multiple industry certifications, including Avalanche Rescue and American Guides.
It was a wonderful part of my birthday celebration, especially being with Richard’s grandson and the rest of his family in New Hampshire. Thanks Patrick for a wonderful experience.
Currently, Patrick is ALPS Program Director/Head Coach at the prestigious Carrabassett Valley Academy.