High School/College Interpretive
Scholarship Program - 2009 Recipients
|My Experiences as an
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!
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
surrounding area and heard stories from people of all different
backgrounds. Expert hikers, vacationing families, and outdoorsy
all united on the top of Azure to appreciate the outstretched view and
share stories. It was a pleasure to hear about their motivation
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
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.
the days that started cloudy ended up clearing up so well the view
seemed endless. Thanks to a few pictures Joe had print and
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
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
family reunion. It was remarkable to see grandparents and
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
The view and the people made the time I spent on Azure Mountain
unforgettable. I learned something new from each person I met,
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