Another Article on The Summit Project

Just saw a great article by Ashley Conti in Bangor Daily News on The Summit Project hike.  Ashley hiked with us to the peak of Borestone to cover the hike for BDN.  We were impressed with her hiking abilities.  It was obvious that she had done this a few times more than most us. What impressed all of us the most, though, was her willingness to help out one of our hikers who could not finish the hike because of injury by carrying the memorial stone to the top.  She didn’t have to but she willingly offered and it really meant a lot to all of us.

I know I tend to grab an issue and run with it.  I typically apologize and….actually…, I don’t.  So don’t expect me to now.  If you look at the video footage Ashley has taken of the Borestone hike you will understand why so many people are so excited about The Summit Project and why you should be too.  Read her piece here.


(Maine Heroes Are Never Forgotten)

What is The Summit Project?

readytogoIn a recent post, I recounted my experiences snowshoeing up Borestone Mountain carrying a memorial stone in honor of a young soldier, PFC Tyler Springmann. Some may be wondering why I did this and who organizes these hike. I’d like to post a short description of why a bunch of people would hike a mountain in the middle of winter with stones in our backpacks.

For me, its pretty simple. I’m the son of a Vietnam vet and have always had a special place in my heart for our military. I like hiking. My father was Pastor of a church in Berlin, N.H. and I have fond memories of climbing Mt. Washington with him along with my brother. My two boys have caught the hiking bug and we have been making memories together.

atsunset So when my brother-in-law told me about this group called The Summit Project, described the hike that he took with them, and shared the emotions he felt during the trek, I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do with my boys. It seemed to me a perfect marriage of a couple of passions that I have. I also thought this was a great way to help instill in my sons a healthy respect for our soldiers and a better understanding of the solemn magnitude of the price of freedom.

What is The Summit Project? The Summit Project is the culmination of a vision David Cote had to find a uniquetsp-logo-blue2 way to honor fallen warriors with more than just a token sentiment, but something that required some sort of sacrifice by the living to honor the dead. He conceived this idea while hiking with Navy Seals in the mountains of California. When the Seals reached the summit they pulled stones from their pack and piled them in small hidden area to honor any Seals that had fallen in battle that past year. For Dave Cote, who watched in admiration, this quiet ritual was the seed of a dream for The Summit Project, planted by the Navy Seals on mountain in California.andrewbaseofsummit

What if everyday civilians from Maine took the time to learn the story of a fallen soldier, carried took a stone etched with his name and rank, gave the simple sacrifice of climbing to the top of a mountain with that memorial stone, and on that mountain gave a public remembrance of that fallen warrior? Perhaps that short hike would give civilians just a little taste of what our soldiers do for us on a daily basis. There is something about being in nature surrounded by its majesty that makes one realize there are things in life much bigger than one’s self.

The Summit Project is apolitical. What that means is that it is non-partisan, non-political. Some might find this hard to believe, but the fact that it is politically neutral is one of the major reasons I find The Summit Project so appealing. I hope it stays neutral. It’s the way it should be.


As I told Dave Cote, its nice to have a place where we can lay down the hammer and tongs and step away from the heat for a while. Don’t get me wrong! I have no intentioheadedbackdownn of abandoning my opinions and my campaigns, but there is something grand about Americans from all political stripes coming together and honoring those who give them the freedom to pick up those ideological hammer and tongs and go at it.

Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage and First Lady Michelle Obama have endorsed the Summit Project. If that isn’t bi-partisan I don’t know what is. TMCV recommends that our readers check out The Summit Project at their website. Do a hike to honor Maine’s fallen warriors or, if hiking is out of the question, check out ways that you can volunteer. Go to The Maine Summit Project’s website or like them on Facebook.peakofborestone

Cold, Hard, and Final


The wind and snow had just begun to intensify as I slowly worked my way through the crags of rocks that bordered the final ascent to the peak. The whistle of the wind across the scrub oborestonepeakf the scraggly boughs in the tree line below seemed to swallow the sounds of scrapping snowshoes as my sons and I traversed the last few feet of snow swept, ice encrusted rock to the peak of Borestone Mountain. We waited, along with my nephew, on the top as the rest of our group appeared from the rocks below and made their way to the top, scaling the bluffs like ants picking their own varied approaches.

Almost immediately the hshawnclimbingikers began to pull layers from their packs that had been shed in the climb to cover themselves against the brisk wind and snow. Smiles and congratulations were shared all around as we munched on food and took in the stark wintry beauty around us. The mountain dressed in snow with the shades of grey and black exposed rock trimmed against the dark greens of the mountain conifers laid upon the backdrop of the icy ponds and winter mountains below was absolutely breathtaking. The satisfaction of conquering the mountain was palpable in the air as the snowshoeing warriors conversed together and surveyed their conquest. andrewonthepeak

The moments of revelry were short-lived, as those who have hiked in the wilderness for any length of time know that extended exposure to the harsh elements on a windswept mountain in a snow squall is not the better part of wisdom. We quickly changed our focus to primary reason for our hike. A sudden sense of gravity seemed to move amongst almost as if it were carried on the winds swirling around us.

Each of us removed from our pack a stone engraved with the name of a soldier that has fallen combat. There on that cold, snowy, peak we gathered in a circle to honor their sacrifice and bravery. With only the surrounding grey bleak cliffs, the ominous circling dark clouds, the cold wintry valleys below, and God above as our witness, we honored the fallen and pledged never to forget their sacrifice.


PFC Tyler M. Springmann.

I carried the memorial stone of PFC Tyler M. Springmann. He was born in Hartland, Maine, not far from where I live. He was stationed in Fort Wainwright, Alaska with the Stryker Brigade. He was fun loving, loved people, and wanted to be loved. He had weakness for a good Whopper and preferred the outdoors.

He was 19 years old when he joined the army, went to war, and gave his all for you and me. As I sat on that mountain looking at that stone, picked from the driveway of Tyler’s grandparents home where he used to skateboard, I was struck by how cold and how final it felt to me. Beside me on that snowy mount where my two teenage sons, who are just a few years younger than Tyler was when he gave everything he could give for his country.

In that ceremony ring, there was a young man of 17, who had just joined the Marines, honoring a fallen marine. Beside him, his mother and sister. His mother carried the stone of a soldier who had also joined the military at 17, and the day of this hike was the anniversary of his sacrifice. There also a granddaughter who carried a stone honoring her grandfather, a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, who had recently passed on.cliffssummitprojectborestone isaacrepelling

As we climbed, at points repelled, down the mountain, I reflected on the small sacrifice we had made to climb the mountain in comparison to great price of freedom. It was a difficult climb to be sure. Two of our group could not finish due to injury. Still even the cold cliffs of that icy mountain cannot compare to the cold hard finality of the price of freedom. These heroes from Maine we honored on this hike knew full well that price and willingly gave it. It is for us that bask in the warmth of that freedom they purchased to vow never to forget its high cost. I will never forget Tyler M. Springmann and I will never stop fighting for freedom.
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