Palmer, AK – Just over a week ago Active Soles hosted their annual Soles in the Backcountry party. This event was to celebrate the end of season trail and peak challenge that they do each year. People that participate in their challenge each year from May through September get out on a series of outdoor trail adventures. At the apex of these adventures is their 6 Peak Challenge. Some of those peaks were fun scrambles and hikes like Government Peak to a bit more technical, enough to give you pause, like Lynx Peak. This year they also invited participants to submit videos and slideshows of their outings. There were some really well done, awesome tracks shot by folks right here in the valley. At least one started to give me vertigo and I wasn’t even on that peak. It was impressive!
In the end, they had awards for 12 people who completed all six peaks. Congratulations to all of them! But what inspired and impressed me were three of those adventures seekers. First, there was Melanie Redington, she was one of two people in the history of the Soles in the Backcountry adventure challenge to complete every single adventure in the book. For perspective that is logging in over 100 miles of trails, and 6 major peaks. I love her dedication to get out there for every one of those trips. The next two are a father and son duo, Mark and his son London. They completed all six peaks together. Here’s the fun part and one of the reasons I love this work. London is in 6th grade. His parents even had him out of school one day when the weather was just right to complete the final peak. Those are dedicated parents to helping nurture his passion for the outdoors. I would have loved to have seen his teacher’s expression with that note. That shows real commitment. And that is inspiring.
As we are planning our work going into 2018 and think about the impacts our work has, I will be thinking back to inspirational stories like these. We help fund projects that in turn help people access this place we call home. There are more opportunities for people like Melanie, Mark, London and others to get out and explore and chase their dreams. That is what inspires me. That is why we are engaged with all of our partners to improve these recreational trails, parks and our quality of life here in the Mat-Su. Learn more about how you can support the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation and help fuel that inspiration.
Contributor: Stuart Leidner, Executive Director
Photo Credit: Kate Arnold, Active Soles and Backcountry Ambassador!