The Apex Physical Therapy Summit Challenge was established to encourage the exploration of our beautiful Central Oregon peaks, make new friends, have fun, and be fit – a series of group hiking excursion where participants could summit four peaks in four months. These peaks, in order, includes Black Butte, Black Crater, Mt. Bachelor, and culminating with a South Sisters summit last month.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, five remaining hikers stood at the South Sister summit trailhead at 6 a.m. with 32-degree temperatures to take on the last of the four Summit Challenges. It was a beautiful day, and we all looked forward to the last challenge.

People often wonder why we want to even attempt such challenges, and I personally have a variety of reasons for climbing. The first is the beauty of Mother Nature. To me, there is something absolutely amazing to be able to be able to see all of your surroundings from high on a mountain. To look across the valleys, lakes, and see a line of mountain peaks from South Sister to Mt Adams more than 100 miles away is just plain spectacular.

Apex Challenge 2016 - South Sisters Summit

 

Secondly, I really enjoy feeling my body working as I get to higher elevations. It makes me feel in tune with my inner self to know how far or how fast my body will let me go, to be in sync with my needs for food and water, and to realize how far my body can be pushed to achieve these goals.

And lastly, to have an amazing day in the mountains. The Summit is always a goal, but it is not the most important goal. What is most important is getting back home to your family and friends knowing that you used your best judgment to know when to go on for the summit or when to turn around because of weather, climbing conditions, or your body telling you that today is just not the day.

I have achieved success in summiting a number of mountain peaks, and I had to turn back quite a number of times, as well. But each attempt or success was always an adventure and learning experience.

I would like to congratulate Michelle W., Steve, and Heather for making the South Sister summit, and also congratulate Michelle Shannon for achieving her personal summit on South Sister. We had a very successful day and a very successful Apex Challenge, with Michelle and Steve being the All Stars by participating in all four challenges.

Thanks to all that participated along the way including Jake, Tiffany, Tim, Ken, Michelle W., Heather, Logan, and the Monger family at Mt Bachelor. Who knows what our next challenge will be…