I'm Tom McCurdy, 32 and married two years now to my lovely wife Jennifer. We have two children we are raising together, Sage 5 years old and Madeline 1 year old. I am currently an Anthropology student at Idaho State University in my last semester, graduating in December '98. I plan on attending graduate school to pursue my interests in comparative osteology, paleoanthropology, and forensic osteology. I have been an avid outdoor enthusiast for most of my life. My interests have ranged from team sports when I was younger through camping, fishing, hiking, and downhill skiing to my current fire for wheelchair racing, both road and track in distances from 100 meters to marathons. My favorite distance is 200 meters. I commit to several hours per week training in the chair or cross-training in a hand cycle, swimming and weight training.
When I became a paraplegic in 1987, I spent the next couple of years lamenting all that I could no longer accomplish. With the prodding of friends and family during those two years, I was convinced that I needed to get in touch with the C.W.HOG and see what their program was all about. The first thing I began to re-explore through C.W.HOG was snow skiing. Soon after that in the spring I went on a week long white water rafting trip on the Green River. Eventually I tried waterskiing as well, though I don't enjoy that as much as other outdoor activities. I became involved in adaptive weight training and swimming classes that HOG offers on the ISU campus in later years. I have remained involved in all of the HOG activities that I enjoy to some extent. Since my skills have improved in swimming, weight training, and snow skiing, my continued involvement has flowered into instructing new participants in C.W.HOG activities. I feel that my life has been so enriched by C.W.HOG that I feel it is important to keep involved in order to help others enrich their lives.
When the opportunity to trek into Nepal to Everest Base Camp arose, I was initially skeptical that I could do it. As time went on and the plans became more thought out and eventually concrete, I began to see that though potentially dangerous and somewhat difficult, I better not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. I jumped aboard the adventure, helped a little in the planning, acquisition of equipment, and pulled the money together to do the trip and was, in the end, very glad to have been a part of a very successful expedition which put the first wheelchair users at Everest Base Camp. It was really challenging for all the members of the trek in different ways and proved to be a very satisfying accomplishment for me, a real confidence builder.
My most satisfying moment of the trip was, not surprisingly, the arrival at Everest Base Camp on May 11th. It was the culmination of several months of planning and a few weeks of trekking. The trekkers rode into base camp on a blizzard so they were glad to arrive to shelter as well.
The most frightening moment for me was a section of trail between Namche Bazar and Phunki Teng at about a week into the trek. The ascending trail narrowed to less than one foot, was augmented with rock steps to minimize the erosion, was etched out of a slope about 70 degrees and about 2000 feet above the river. I was gasping for the breath captain fear was making off with. Needless to say, on the trek out I refused to ride over that section of the trail on the horse which tried to throw me 10 times that day!
All in all the trek was a very good experience and I am very glad I jumped on the opportunity.