It’s the holiday season – time to think of others first and give back in whatever ways you can. So it’s an appropriate time for Hellgate (Missoula, Mont.) senior runner Adam Peterman to embark on his senior project.
Peterman is raising awareness plus $5,000 for Outdoor Nation, a nonprofit organization that helps develop young outdoor leaders, by biking and hiking from the lowest point in the U.S., Death Valley, Calif., to the highest summit in the Continental U.S. (14,505 feet), Mount Whitney. That’s roughly 155 miles – 135 miles biking and 20 hiking up Mount Whitney – if you’re counting.
Peterman, who will run for the University of Colorado, hit the road last week.
He checked back with USA TODAY High School Sports along the way. Follow along all week to see how Peterman progressed.
Blog Entry No. 1
Who I am and what I’m doing
My name is Adam Peterman, and I’m a senior at Hellgate. I’m excited to embark on perhaps the most difficult 48 hours of my life. As part of my senior project, I’m going to attempt to travel from Death Valley to Mount Whitney in California.
My senior project combines personal passions with giving back to the community. I wanted to do something that would be physically challenging and also help youth.
For this, I’m raising $5,000 for Outdoor Nation, a nonprofit that aims to take underprivileged kids outside. I think it’s super cool, especially coming from Montana where a trail system is always less than 10 minutes away.
As I type this, I’m experiencing a wide array of emotions — excitement, nervousness, relief and stress. But bottom line, I’m extremely stoked to leave for the expedition.
This past week has been one of the busiest of my life. I’ve been typing press releases, doing interviews and dialing in the logistics of the trip. I’ve really enjoyed the process, though.
It’s cool that people are showing so much interest. The reward of this work means that the fundraiser will spread to more people, which equals greater awareness and brings us closer to our $5,000 goal for Outdoor Nation.
I’ll be traveling with my mentor and cross country coach, Mike Foote. We’ve had meetings almost daily to turn our crazy idea into a reality. Planning has been pretty straightforward: We’ll drive for two days, bike for one, hike for another and then drive the long haul back to Missoula.
We plan to leave after I get out of school. We’ll take the interstate as far possible. Depending on the roads, we could end up in Idaho, Utah or Nevada. If temperatures are friendly, we’ll camp, but if they’re frigid we’ll stay in a cheap motel.
We’ll drive all day to Badwater, the lowest point in the western hemisphere. I’m hoping that we’ll get there before the sun sets so we can snap some photos, cook copious amounts of food and have a final night of good sleep.
Mike and I will wake up at 4 a.m. and leave immediately to bike, which will take approximately 12 to 15 hours. We’re hoping for pleasant temps and stagnant wind. After finishing at the trailhead to Mount Whitney, we’re going to eat thousands of calories and instantly go to bed.
Not going to lie, I’m expecting Friday to be the most painful day of my life. We’ll wake up at 2 a.m. to start our climb. We don’t have any idea how long the hike will take — it depends entirely on the conditions. Hopefully we’ll summit late morning and return to the trailhead by dusk.
In the event of brutal winds or below-zero temps, we’ll be prepared. Thanks to The North Face, we have the entire Summit Series collection to keep us warm. We also have GPS, SPOT emergency transmitter and avalanche beacons.
I’m extremely excited to leave for this journey tomorrow, and I can’t believe it’s finally here. It’s a relief to finish packing and organizing. All that’s left is to accomplish it.
The feeling on top of Mount Whitney will be like none other. To raise money for an organization that helps kids find their own passions within the outdoors makes it so much sweeter.