It’s a year later and American Indian College Fund board member and supporter Dave Rogers is back on the trail to kick off his personal Pyrenees challenge. The Pyrenees mountain chain creates a natural border between Spain and France, separating the Iberian Peninsula. It also is host to three peaks that crest over 11,000 feet above sea level.
Last year Dave had to abandon his fundraising trek at the mid-point after 25 days due to winter-like conditions and knee problems. Dave had challenged his friends to match his gift to the American Indian College Fund if he completed the trek. Although he did not complete his journey, Dave raised $100,000 for all-inclusive scholarships for two students American Indian College Fund who will begin their careers at Salish-Kootenai College and Little Big Horn College this September. Talk about “walking the walk!”
Undaunted, Dave hit the trail again this year with plans to finish the epic journey he began last year.
Dave writes, “Tomorrow where we left off at Bagneres de Luchon halfway along the Pyrennean chain. So stay tuned for a couple more epistles from the GR 10-the old historic pathway along the mountains.”
Dave notes that he is traveling with an attorney nicknamed “Stumpy,” whose “attachment to his legal career is such that he is unable to commit to more than two weeks this time. This simply reconfirms the sad state of lawyers’ minds. Priorities all wrong.”
The journey ahead is not going to be easy (even though many of us in the American West are privileged to live in the shadow of 14,000 feet peaks). Dave notes, “We only have 2.5 Everests ahead [in terms of the feet to climb] now and only 300 miles as measured on a horizontal line, but add 30 per cent to that for the up and down nature of each day’s trek.”
“We enter the Ariege region, the driest and most remote part of the GR 10, so its tenting all the way,” he adds. Many of you may recall that last year the trek included stops in mountain villages along the way. To accommodate the back-country camping Dave says, “We have entered the 21st century in gear. Imagine a one-man tent weighing only 0.75kg and a sleeping bag of 0.25kg…it remains to be seen how long they stay intact. The weight drop from our last escapade is significant and welcome. The one-man tent decision was a mandate from Stumpy due the prolonged nocturnal nasal renderings of his fellow trekker,” Dave says.
“Lastly, but most importantly, nobody owes me anything in sponsorship. Rather it is I who have the obligation to finish what I started. Some of you have been incredibly generous and thrown some new money into the pot which once again I will match, so we are off and running on putting a third Native American through college.” Dave says.
Before stepping off into the wilderness Dave dispatched a fact for us to ponder:
“The Howard University near Washington, D.C., a primarily African-American institution, receives more funds from the U.S. federal government than the combined 33 tribal colleges that the American Indian College Fund supports. That translates into Howard University students receiving almost four times as much support per student. Where is the equality in that? Thanks to you all for your support for native education and good wishes for my journey as I head out. Your money goes a long way in Indian country.”
You too can make an impact on a Native American student’s life by donating today!