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High School/College Interpretive Scholarship Program - 2009 Recipients
Daniel Romlein
d. romlein 1My Experiences as an AMF Volunteer:

When I saw the newspaper lying on the table that contained the information on the AMF scholarship, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. Working outdoors in one of the most beautiful areas imaginable, interacting with people, and helping to defray the cost of college; I didn’t see how I could go wrong!

Every day on the summit was unique and inspiring. Although at times things were slow, it was never what I would call “boring”. Almost each time I was there, at least one person who was outstandingly friendly and conversational would appear. Talking with hikers and having questions asked of me was fun. I loved sharing my favorite outdoor adventure spots with those wondering what good points of interest there were nearby. The high point of my visitor interaction had to be when a guy video-interviewed me.

Following the hike up, I always knew I had some time before anyone arrived, so I would set the flag and then do some stretching. Usually several people would summit before noon but the majority were after. Making my trash-run to the far side and back, I was always pleasantly surprised with the scarcity of litter. When there wasn’t anybody at the summit, I sometimes did rock-work. My last two summit days I had the pleasure of picking blueberries.
  
In hindsight, I should have heeded Joe Berner’s advice to choose days later in the summer to avoid the black-flies and gain the bonus of blueberries. There were one or two times when it got miserable. Overall though, things went smoothly: no injuries noted, no one was rude, I had enough food and water each time, and I didn’t get heavily rained on.
  
I look back on my time as an Azure mountain interpreter as a positive experience. The privilege of seeing God’s beauty so clearly displayed was awesome. When there were no people around it afforded a lot of time for self-reflection I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Thank you for this unique scholarship and the memories it created!

Daniel Romlein
Maggie Cook
m cook 1AMF Interpreter Scholarship 2009   

Receiving the chance to be the Azure Mountain Fire Interpreter for five days this summer was an honor, and the experience to do something I had never done before was fantastic.  I learned about  hiking and the surrounding area and heard stories from people of all different backgrounds.  Expert hikers, vacationing families, and outdoorsy locals all united on the top of Azure to appreciate the outstretched view and share stories.  It was a pleasure to hear about their motivation to climb Azure and watch them awe over the view from an underrated mountain among the High Peaks. 
   
My first day on the summit got off to a rough start, and Joe Berner and I weren’t able to venture out until close to eleven o’clock due to the summer storms that frequent the north country.  Fortunately, the clouds quickly shifted on past and the views from Azure were remarkable.  There were very few hikers that first day, but I enjoyed the time to talk with Joe and soak in the beauty from the summit. 
   
The other four days I spent atop Azure saw better weather, except for a day cut short by storms and a cloudy day with a limited view.  Most of the days that started cloudy ended up clearing up so well the view seemed endless.  Thanks to a few pictures Joe had print and labeled for me, I was able to point out the distant peaks to hikers.
   
Just like the view changed throughout the days on the summit, so did the type of people who reached the top.  People from all generations, from all over, and with all different level of experience took on the Azure trail.  One day, a group of 25 reached the summit to celebrate a family reunion.  It was remarkable to see grandparents and children hike up the steep trail together in order to enjoy the view and a picnic on the summit.  Other hikers talked about how they camp at nearby parks or come to a summer camp in the Adirondack and look forward to hiking the short but challenging trail on Azure.  I met people from Italy, Canada, Rochester, Syracuse, and other places near and far.  The local hikers I talked to on the summit varied from experienced 46ers to families trying hiking together for the first time.  I never knew who I would see come panting up to the tower next!
   
The view and the people made the time I spent on Azure Mountain unforgettable.  I learned something new from each person I met, and I hope to continue hiking to learn more about nature and everything that goes hand-in-hand with it.  I truly can’t thank the Azure Mountain Friends enough for sharing with me the perks of being a Fire Tower Interpreter.

Maggie
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The Azure Mountain Friends, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization.