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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Woodcraft's Two Most Recent 46ers

Two counselors, Jordan Levi and Aaron Miska recently became Adirondack 46ers. Everyone in the Woodcraft community is really proud of their accomplishments and the positive example they are setting for campers.

You both recently completed hiking the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks. That puts you in some impressive company including John Leach (#865) and former counselor Dom Stehli (#7139). Have you spoke to them about it?

Aaron Miska: I have spoken to both of them about the High Peaks and completing the 46. Dom was my counselor when I was in Trail Camp and he was my inspiration to climb all 46. Upon becoming a counselor I went with Dom on our day off and climbed Allen, finishing off Dom's 46th High Peak.

Jordan Levi: No, I haven't spoken to John or Dom about it yet. 

Have you met any other 46ers since you completed the challenge? 

AM: I have met a few since completing my 46th, mostly and St. Lawrence University where I go to school. However during the spring while visiting my grandparents, my great-uncle came over, I then learned he too was a 46er.

JL: I learned that Aaron was a 46r. I didn't know that he was one until my sister Alex said he could get me stickers. 
Aaron, as a counselor, with Sam in the High Peaks.
Does it feel like you're part of an exclusive club when you talk to other?

AM: It feels like an exclusive club only because we are the only ones with 46er apparel. When talking about the High Peaks it is wonderful to hear others talk about their experiences.

JL: Not to me. It just feels like we can truly appreciate the High Peaks and realize how lucky we are. Even aspiring 46ers feel this way so being part of the club doesn't make us exclusive. 
Jordan, as an OLTD, accompanying the Auroras on a Peaks trip.
Do you remember your first High Peak? What was the trip like?

AM: I climbed my first High Peak when I was 14 years old with Trail Camp. Dom was a trip leader on the trip. I climbed my first 3 High Peaks of which Mt. Marcy was the first.

JL: My first peaks was Basin. It was my first High Peaks trip and I went with camp. I was with all of my best friends and the two greatest counselors, Monica Bailey and Hannah McMeekin. 

How many Peaks do you think you summited as a Woodcraft camper or counselor?

AM: I have climbed at least 23 of the 46 High Peaks while a part of camp. Using trips both as a camper and counselor and on days off to go climbing and to share my joy I found in the High Peaks.

JL: At least 25 
Aaron and James with Lower Ausable Lake in background during a Trail Camp trip.
Is there a particularly memorable High Peak experience you had with fellow 
Woodcrafters?

AM: Each peak I climbed with camp is memorable for various reasons but perhaps the most memorable was Mt. Colden, my favorite view in all the High Peaks.

JL: It was definitely my first Peak. I was with my four best friends and it was great to experience such a life changing moment with them. 

Have you completed the process to make your membership official? If so, what is your number?

AM: I completed the application process in December of 2012, receiving my number this winter. I am number 7729.
Jordan and her fellow Auroras take a break at a junction in the trial.
As role models for campers who want to become 46ers and achieve other goals, what advice would you offer?

AM: My advice to those who would like to climb all 46 would to enjoy each Peak for what it is not what number it is.

JL: Even if people say a certain mountain is too hard for them, they need to believe in themselves and trust that they can do what they set their mind to. 

Would you describe becoming a 46er as more physically challenging or more mentally challenging?

JL: I think it is equal. When you are summitting a  mountain your legs just start to kill. It feels like you can't go any longer and that's what takes perseverance. Your mind has to be stronger than your body's weakness. 
Aaron and some friends taking in the view.
Moving forward in your lives, is your experience as a 46er something you will apply to future challenges?

AM: I can imagine I will, using it as proof of my ability to accomplish goals I set for myself, whether it be long term of short term.

JL: Yes, being a 46er would be a great thing to put on applications and things like that. It shows that you are determined and a hard worker. 

Which fellow Woodcrafters -- counselors or peers -- were influential in you achieving your goal?

AM: Dom first and foremost because without him I probably wouldn't have finished. Along with my other TC counselors I had as a camper.

JL: All of them. They all encouraged me and helped me out. The counselors helped me realize that it's a dream that I could reach. 
Jordan and Colleen pose for a photo-op on top of a High Peak.
What's next for you in your hiking career? Have you looked ahead to another milestone?

AM: I have begun to look into climbing the Peaks in the winter but I also would like to try something like the Appalachian Trail.

JL: My next goal is to just keep hiking and keep being outdoors. I want to inform people of the value of the Adirondacks. I would love to be a trail steward in the High Peaks and be able to talk to people. 

Lastly, what was your final Peak? What was the trip like and how did it feel?

AM: My last peak was Rocky Peak Ridge. I finished on Peak Weekend which is a weekend in the fall where at least one person from St. Lawrence University summits all 46 of the High Peaks (not the same person). It was a rainy and foggy day when I finished so neither Giant nor Rocky Peak Ridge had a view. I was almost a little sad because I was done and had no goal to work on at the time but excited because I finished.

JL: My last peak was Couchsachraga. I was with my boyfriend and two great friends. It was a long hike and it was wet. Even though the weather wasn't very preferable, being with my favorite people and in my favorite place doing  what I love made me forget it. Being at the top was one of the proudest moments of my life and I felt a great wave of accomplishment!


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