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I hiked the daunting Mount Major in 2019. We left Deerfield Community School at 8 in the morning. I was very excited because it was the biggest hike I had ever done before and it is daunting because the mountain is steep and my Cerebral Palsy provides many physical obstacles. CP affects my balance, my mobility, and my strength, but it does not affect my desire to do difficult things.

We went on the hike with my class for an eighth grade field trip. It was a sunny, blue-sky day. I did not sit with anyone on the school bus but I talked with a friend in my magnet. We talked about what the day was going to be like on our hike.

“Hey! Do you want to eat lunch when we get to the top of the mountain?” I asked Jacob.

“Sure dude!” Jacob said.

When we arrived at the mountain at the base, we had to pick a trail and we listened to the park ranger give us instructions for the hike. There was a list of directions, but basically he just wanted us to know how to be safe. With my trusty, dusty walking stick - which was a ski pole - Jacob and I started the 1800 foot trek up Mount Major. 

I had to avoid the rocky paths and the millions of rocks. As I was walking over the big rocks I was trying not to get hurt. Sometimes, the unstable paths make me feel nervous because if I step wrong I might roll my ankle and I like to keep my balance on a hike. I’m not going to be happy on a hike without balance. 

For some parts of the hike the views were beautiful, as beautiful as a sunset. I could see the treetops from miles away and Lake Sunapee looked dark but sparkly from the sun. The path was rocky with a mix of big rocks and little pebbles. My high hiking boots protected my feet but they helped my balance as my boots would touch the rocks and cause me to trip.

When I got to the top I looked out and saw the lake. When I got back from the hike my bones hurt really bad but I can still smell the fresh air in the sky. I was proud.

© Connor Qualey. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.