Tuesday, May 12th, 1998
From Ali Orton, a Prescott College, Arizona student and C.W.HOG (Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group) volunteer.
After much physical strife and emotional strain, the All Abilities Trek made it to Base Camp at 2:30 p.m. yesterday, May 11th. Not rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor wind could keep us from our destination. Forty five minutes from Base Camp it started to blizzard. In the moments shortly after arriving, people were emotionally moved beyond words. Walking into the mess tent there was cheers and a sign made of recycled styrofoam that said YEA HOGS! The summit team and their supporters were all smiles. There were tears and hugs of congratulations but not a lot was said. People escaped into their tents, crashing after lunch. Some nursed altitude headaches and queasiness that almost stopped them dead in their tracks on the last stretch here.
This morning, under the immaculate sky and intense high altitude sun, we reflected on our feelings and greater awareness on having achieved our goal. Ike Gayfield comments on the significance of it all, "It feels great to open the doors for others. This event has demonstrated that people with disabilities can move beyond recreation to adventure".
Kyle Packer has his own views on his accomplishment. "There's life in the outdoors. Get out and enjoy it! Recreation is all over. HOGs are unique in that we go and test the limits. This was an adventure for me. Everyday it tested my limits."
Everyone is proud to be here. We are homesick and looking forward to the trip home. Base Camp is extremely inaccessible for wheelchairs as the terrain is composed of loose rock scattered everywhere, but the views of the Khumbu Ice Fall, Nuptse peak and Pumori peak are out of this world.
Howard Kelley has been with us since the beginning. He is the professional photographer for both the Expedition as well as the All Abilities Trek. It wouldn't have been the same without him as his positive spirit and crazy sense of humor is contagious. He says, "After fifteen minutes of being with you guys I had no doubt you would make it here. The odds are a given here for people with all abilities. I'm proud of a big group of friends who did an incredible thing. It's the experiences that matter! Each one of us is more of a person for this trip".VerdanaThank youHoward for all your time spent trying to capture the images. You're the MAN! Also thank you family, friends and sponsors for all your support in helping us get here. We love you and we'll see you soon.