There are mountains and then there are mountains. As the fifth-highest peak in California, the summit of Mount Shasta definitely qualifies as the latter.
For Emily Waterman and Evan Farrell, it is also a call to adventure, reason enough to backpack their way to heights that would probably intimidate an elevator.
They hope to be traveling under the auspices of Big City Mountaineers, an organization that provides underserved youth with opportunities to embark into the wilderness. To qualify for July’s hike of Mount Shasta, each of the participants are responsible for raising $3,500, which will be put toward that mission.
“I first heard about it eight or nine years ago when I was in high school and I always wanted to do it,” Farrell said.
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I first heard about it eight or nine years ago when I was in high school and I always wanted to do it.
Farrell and Waterman are not underserved youth. He’s a software engineer, and she’s working on her doctorate in human development and family studies at Penn State.
“I really want to give back. I learned a lot in the outdoors,” Farrell said.
The Boy Scouts provided an introduction to nature, but it wasn’t until he forayed into the great indoors that Farrell truly learned to appreciate the taste of fresh air.
I know how important the outdoors are for kids and adolescent development.
Bear in mind that software engineers aren’t exactly renowned for their tans.
“Getting out in nature and unplugging — so good for you,” Farrell said.
Waterman concurs, although the foundation of her argument is more clinical than anecdotal. Backpacking is a recent preoccupation, relative — say — to the number of years it takes to obtain a doctorate in human development and family studies.
“I know how important the outdoors are for kids and adolescent development,” Waterman said.
Those interested can contribute by searching Waterman and Farrell’s names at crowdrise.com.
“It costs about $1,000 to send a kid on one of these trips, so we figure we’ll send six kids,” Waterman said.