Our Eighth Annual Summit Mt. Washington hike surpassed all expectations, creating friendships and memories that will last a lifetime! More than 120 hikers joined us for our largest ever group trek to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast on August 24.
Thanks to volunteer hiker-organizer extraordinaire Staci Formaggia and our other volunteers, check-in ran smoothly in the cool crisp New England air.
All hikers received an orange bandana and a special commemorative Summit Mt Washington patch. 74 hikers who raised $100 or more via their fundraising pages also received a HIKE for Mental Health orange hiking shirt.
Even 4-footed hikers received a bandana to help us paint the mountain orange!
For some hikers, that was not enough orange bling, so they accessorized with orange tutus!
After check-in, hikers could choose a ribbon and write short messages honoring the reasons for their hike.
The ribbons were added to our Every Step Matters display, a visual reminder of the reasons for the hike.
HIKE for Mental Health vice president Tom Kennedy, wearing his ever-fashionable hiking dress courtesy of Judy at Lightheart Gear, gave the safety talk, providing important do’s and don’t’s for the hikers.
Before setting off on the trail, Diana Pease led a moment of reflection and a remembrance of the reasons for the hike. Hikers recalled friends and family suffering with mental illness and the stigma that accompanies it, including for some hikers, loved ones who lost their lives to addiction, suicide or other complications related to mental illness.
Group pictures were taken and the hike began!
The initial ascent through the forest was almost mystical as fog and low clouds shrouded the forest in mystery.
After about 2 miles of steady uphill hiking, we broke through the treeline into the scrub. From that point on, the line of orange dots climbing to the summit could be seen across the valley.
After another half mile of upward slogging, with our lungs crying for air and our legs burning from the exertion, we broke through the scrub. From that point on, the hike was a rock scramble from cairn to cairn all the way to the summit.
Well, not the all the way to the summit. There was a brief respite as the trail leveled off to cross the saddle, providing glorious views and easy walking but only for a little while. Then the climb began again in earnest. Will we ever reach the summit?
Yes, we will! Celebrations and summit photos ensued.
Many thanks for the organizers and volunteers who made our Summit Mt. Washington possible. Many of these volunteers work year-round to plan this hike and ensure it is a fun, safe and memorable experience.
From the left: Tom Kennedy, Paul Huffman, Diana Huffman, Donna Keefer, Staci Formaggia, and Sue Twombley. On the right: Genevieve Todriff and Joanne Tobey with Roo. Not pictured are hike leaders Brandon Parenteau and Laurie Lawrence and lead sweeps Karen Doherty and Jeff Piekarski. The hike would not have been the same without each and every one of you!
Another new record
At HIKE for Mental Health, we strive to create amazing hiking experiences while also raising funds to alleviate suffering from mental illness and to help preserve these precious wilderness trails.
Thanks to all our volunteers, the amazing hikers and their sponsors, the Eighth Annual Summit Mt. Washington was not only an unforgettable day on the mountain and a strong voice against the stigma of mental illness; it was also a new record for fundraising. After breaking $23,000 for the first time last year, this year’s event generated 564 donations and raised $26,521.18! Wow 100% of the funds raised will go to our mission purposes – 80% to mental health research and 20% to trail conservancy.
Our top fundraiser will receive a brand new pair of Leki trekking poles, generously donated by Leki. This year six hikers raised more than $1,000 each. Thank you to Christine, Lynn, Donna, Dana, and Diana and Paul!
And the top prize with $1,850, goes to Laurie Lawrence (left)! Congratulations, Laurie, and thank you. Your mom would be so proud!
Laurie Lawrence $1,850
Christine Linehan $1,416
Lynn Shugrue $1,385
Donna Keefer $1,305
Dana Kedziora $1,212
Diana & Paul Huffman $1,165
Ninth Annual Summit Mt. Washington
Ready to climb Mt. Washington again? Our wonderful volunteer team is already planning for next year’s hike. The tentative date is August 22, 2020.
So many photos, so little space! Here are some of the best. You can also check out Brandon’s Facebook album as well as Glenn Sweitzer’s amazing photo gallery to see more than 400 more photos!