It all started with a dinner at “The Grill” in Lone Pine, CA after a one-day summit of Mt. Whitney: the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. As we dove into our burgers, fries, and root beers; our server made sure that we were taken care of and was incredibly interested in our story. Upon telling him of our summit, he was very impressed and kept asking us more and more questions. It took way too long for us to direct our questions back to him. He told us he had hiked Whitney three times, and his excitement in speaking with us was palpable. We spent the rest of our meal getting to know as much as possible about Bobby in the little time we had. As we drove home the next morning, in our talks about all that we had just experienced in summiting Mt. Whitney and spending time in Lone Pine, we kept circling back to our brief but meaningful interaction with Bobby. This is where Small Towns to Summits was born – in the simple idea of getting to know the people that give life to the places to which we are drawn to climb.
Nearly a half year later, we’re still cramming in coffee shop dates into two incredibly busy schedules to bring our project to life. From returning back to Lone Pine to interview Bobby, to writing grant proposals in the car on the way to the mountains, and even a few FaceTimes across international borders – we have laid the groundwork for this project. Since that late October summit, we have spent every single day dedicated to making this dream a reality.
Here’s the plan: this summer, we will climb the tallest peaks in six states: northern California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado await us. Along the way, we will be spending time in the communities that surround these mountains and gathering the stories of the people who make up these small towns. While we cannot yet even begin to anticipate how it will feel to stand atop the highest points of these six states as we simultaneously weave together the narratives of all those whose paths we cross, we know that this project will forever change our lives. The story of Small Towns to Summits is the story of two young and passionate women who aspire to share their personal journeys as well as the various voices we gather along the way. We hope that our story continues to inspire others to chase their passions and live their lives without glancing in the rear view mirror.