Sunday, September 21, 2008

I did it! 10 summits and $5000

I did it! I reached the summits of ten "4000-footers" this year and raised over $5000 to help my school "go green." Before I tell you about my latest hike, I would like to say "thank you," again, to everyone who donated to my project, to everyone who said encouraging things to me, and to all of the companies that sponsored me. And I want to give a special thanks to my little brother Lucas, who is only seven and accompanied me on six of the ten mountains. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

We all woke up -- me, my brother, my dad, and my papa -- before 6:00 in the morning, and it was freezing. There was frost on the ground. After some hot cocoa and coffee we got our gear and headed for the trail. It was so cold that we all had to wear gloves and mittens for the first hour of the hike. The trail that we took up towards our first mountain was rocky and slippery. It's called Falling Waters Trail and it goes by a bunch of waterfalls and crosses a stream about five times. I was looking forward to showing my brother Shining Rock Cliff, which is a big cliff with lots of water trickling down, because I did this same hike about a year ago and saw it then. We reached the first summit, Little Haystack Mountain, about three hours after we started. Little Haystack Mountain is 4,840 feet high, but it doesn't count as a "4000-footer" because it's on a ridge trail and the drops between the mountains next to it are less than 200 feet. So, I couldn't count it as one of my project summits.

Then we headed off towards our next summit, Mount Lincoln, which is 5,089 feet high. Surprisingly, Mount Lincoln is not in the Presidential Range. Maybe Lincoln got lost! The trail along the ridge is part of the Appalachian Trail, and it's very rocky. We each made up a code name, because on the Appalachian Trail, you're not allowed to use your real name. My name was Navigator, Luke's was The Ace, Dad's was Smurf, and Papa's was Stone Fingers. We reached the top of Mount Lincoln, my 9th project summit, but didn't stay very long.

On our way to Mount Lafayette we heard an airplane nearby. We looked up and saw that a small plane was towing a glider. This was really cool because I had never seen a glider before. We saw the glider release from the airplane and zoom around the top of the mountain. It was really quiet and when it came around the mountain it looked like it came out of nowhere. Mount Lafayette is about one mile from Mount Lincoln, still along the Appalachian Trail. I was the first one in our small group of four to reach the summit. When I reached the summit -- my 10th and final summit! -- I felt awesome and fantastic. We had some snacks, enjoyed the view, took a lot of pictures, and then started to head down along the Old Bridle Path.

On our way down, between the summit and the Greenleaf Hut, we met a group with a couple of dogs, and they told us that they had lost their white husky. They asked us if we had seen it, but we hadn't. As we kept going down, people who passed us said that they had seen the dog and that it was running towards the hut, in the wrong direction from where its owners were headed. So we started screaming up the mountain, "DOG PEOPLE! DOG PEOPLE! YOUR DOG IS DOWN HERE!" Then we saw one of the dog owners running past us to catch the husky. About a quarter of a mile from Greenleaf Hut we saw the man bringing back his dog towards the summit. We clapped and congratulated him.

We snacked at Greenleaf Hut and then started the final stretch back to the campground, still about 3 miles and a lot of back-braking labor (Greenleaf Hut is at 4,070 feet) away. About halfway down we saw a man carrying crates on his back up the mountain. We asked him what they were for and he said that they were filled with food and supplies for the hut. It looked very uncomfortable.

When we finally reached the end of the trail -- 9.1 miles and 8 1/2 hours later -- I tore off my backpack, whipped off my baseball hat, and started dancing. I call it "The Summits Jig." I felt so great being done and I was proud about what I did for my school, except I have to admit that I was also a little sad because my project was now over. I know that I'm going to keep on climbing mountains. And maybe someday I'll start another project.

If you'd like to see some photos of this final hike, click here.

Also, on the right side of this page you can vote for which one of my hikes was your favorite (I'm not going to tell you which one was mine). You can read about them again if you look at my blog log from previous months. Lastly, my dad did some math and figured out if you add up the distance from these ten summit hikes, it comes to 53.6 miles -- and that's MOUNTAIN miles, with lots of rocks and roots. And if you add up the elevations of the ten mountains, it comes to 44,892 feet, which is higher than Mount Everest (29,029 feet).

Green Tip #10: Take Action! Don't be shy about starting your own project to help your school or your community save the environment. Just look what one nine-year-old kid can do.


Jeff said...

Congratulations Evan!

Mr. P said...

Congrats David and Evan. You have inspired our school to do something similar!

Keep striving for what you believe in Evan, it is very important in life.

Mr. P

Paul Thompson said...

Congratulations Evan, I read about you on the Sierra Trading Post blog. You did a great thing.