Donna, my wife, and I started backpacking in 1978 with a trip to Bryce Canyon in Utah. In the years that followed, we visited many National and State parks throughout the United States car camping and numerous backpacking trips into the back country, the longest being an 8 day trip to Kern Canyon in Sequoia National Park.
In 1994, without any knowledge of Highpointing or the Highpointer Club, I got the idea of climbing Mt. McKinley. Realizing I needed special training and guiding to accomplish this, I contacted Alaska – Denali Guiding and signed up for a 10-day mountain-eering seminar on the Ruth Glacier. This trip not only gave me some of the knowledge needed to summit all 50 highpoints; it’s also where I met Rick Hartman. We’ve been together on numerous climbs and summits since the Ruth Glacier. Rick has become not only a good friend but without his help I wouldn’t have reached my goal of fifty summits as smoothly as I have. I can’t say thanks enough for all the good times we’ve had and those yet to come.
Donna has also been a huge part of my success having shared 40 sum-mits with me and been navigator on highpointing trips in 1998 and again in 2000 where we traveled over 5,500 miles in each of the two-week trips, collecting 34 highpoints along the way.
It’s been a wonderful experience the past 6 years, not only seeing parts of our great nation I probably would have missed if it weren’t for highpoint-ing, but I’ve met some very interesting and friendly people along the way.
I can’t think of any highpointing day I didn’t enjoy but the sunrise, sum-mit day on Mt. Ranier was one of the most beautiful; the summit of Mt. Marcy, with Donna, in near white out conditions was another one of my favorite days. The hikes in and out on so many of the peaks were just as rewarding as the summit themselves. Even the long road trips to some of the drive up highpoints bring back some fond memories.
In closing, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who’s helped me in reaching my goal and hopefully we’ll see you again either on the trail or at a conven-tion in the near future.
[Published in Apex to Zenith #54 – Third Quarter 2001]