This is the story of the Team FARA Foolkiller climb as told by FA parent Tom Hopkins. If you'd like, here's a little background http://teamfara.blogspot.com/2010/07/foolkiller-2010.html
Now, on with the post:
One of the ways we decided to contribute to Team FARA is through an idea my neighbor, Web Barrett, came up with. We had been hiking the White Mountains every summer for the past few years – Web, myself(Tom), Web’s son, Kyle, and Francis. We started with Mount Washington and have covered a few additional 4,000’ + peaks since. (Web’s done most of them already a few times over). This year, we decided to turn the climb into an opportunity to raise awareness and fund research for a cure for FA, by raising the FA banner over at least five 4,000’ peaks. We decide to name the climb the “FoolKiller 2010,” after one of the peaks. This year Clare will round out our five member Team FARA. Our five member team will be hiking 5-8 mountains, all over 4,000 feet, within five days and four nights.
I think none of us realized what we were getting ourselves into. Even Web. And he’s a veteran
It was preceded with signs that I now realize I should have more carefully read – starting with the weather report. One of the driest
On start day – Wednesday – we headed up in two vehicles, with a plan to drop one at the end point of the hike. Turns out we dropped it a bit earlier than planned – in the middle of Interstate 93. I was driving my 10 year old
Started out in the pouring rain, going up
And what a day – possibly the longest ever for some of us. From
The extremely difficult terrain, the fatigue, the pain, the cold, the rain and the thought of three more days of the same played with our minds. We hiked for a good while in silence, each bearing his own private burden. As we learned from one another later, our thoughts at this time were often on our FA-ers and families, who confront difficulties and hardships and personal challenges on a daily basis and who persevere with resolve and courage. Amazingly, it was at this low point that the “Team” in Team FARA really came into play. Near exhaustion, Clare and I struggled far behind Web and Kyle who went ahead to try to secure shelter for the night. As we both neared what we thought to be the end of our endurance, Web came back down the mountain to us to announce that he had reached the summit, and to take my pack up the remaining distance. I took Clare’s and the three of us hiked with renewed determination to the top of Garfield, where Kyle was waiting, and unfurled the FARA banner in the icy winds.
We reached a shelter just after dark, cold, wet and tired. We got right into our sleeping bags without supper, paying little attention to the snoring hikers and busy mice who shared our lean-to. We’d raised the FARA banner over four additional 4,000 footers.
We slept in the next day, Friday, dried out our wet gear in the sunshine that finally came, got some food into us and revived our bodies and spirits. We had some good company in the shelter. You meet the most extraordinary people 5,000 feet in the air. Some of them are “through hikers” – going the entire distance of the AT (Appalachian Trail) from
Saturday we started out early after breakfast, rested and dry. The hiking was even more extreme, with steep downhills and uphills requiring all four “points” (hands and feet) at times, but it was dry and much more agreeable than Thursday’s ordeal. The views were spectacular. We hit two more 4,000 footers – Galehead and South Twin. We raised the FARA banner over each, and drew a good deal of curiosity and encouragement from the hikers who were out on the sunny weekend. We directed them to the FARA website.
On Sunday, we hiked out, hitting the summits of Guyot and