Everest-007 June 2007

Flat Stanley Returns Home 6/14/2007
Six months after Flat Stanley left Woodland Primary School, he gave up his wondering ways and returned home. The energy in the gymnasium was electric as the children filed in and took their seats. After setting up the projector, I visited “The Wall.” On the wall was a scaled painting of Mount Everest with many other references such as the CN Tower, the Eiffel Tower, and Gros Morne (famous Newfoundland Peak). Using physical activity, the children had worked Flat Stanley up Mount Everest. Judging from his current position, Flat Stanley had reached the South Summit and was making the final traverse of the Hilary Step and would likely reach the true summit tomorrow after another session of quality daily physical activity.

Woodland Primary is a Kindergarten through Grade Three Primary School. After Mrs. Stoodley asked me to take Flat Stanley along on my Everest climb, the entire school got behind my effort. They held a “Pajama Day” where all the kids got to wear PJ’s to school and brought a contribution to the climb. I was so appreciative today when they presented me with their fundraising efforts.

The eager children were treated to a special presentation that included all of Flat Stanley’s adventures in training for and climbing Mount Everest. They loved seeing his picture and during the question and answer period, many questions were asked about his experience. After the students asked me about my favorite moments of the climb, they asked about Flat Stanley’s favorite moments. They asked if he had fun, if he was scared, and whether or not he might try to climb Mount Everest again.

Several classes requested autograph sessions and I spent some very special time with Mrs. Stoodley’s third grade class after the assembly so they could see and touch some of my mountaineering gear. The crampons were a big hit. One of the Grade Two classes presented me with a spike from the Newfoundland Railway. To me, the rails have always represented adventure and I hope one day to ride the Newfoundland T’railway on my mountain bike.

We took Flat Stanley out to Tim Horton’s for one last Vanilla Dip after sharing lunch with Erika and Nancy. Flat’s not sure where his next Vanilla Dip is coming from given his separation from the Queen Mother of Vanilla Dips. So, Flat Stanley is home for now-the class asked me to take him on my next adventure so we will travel together again in the near future I’m sure.

Special thanks go out to all the teachers and students of Woodland Primary. Your support is deeply touching to me and I appreciate getting to see how closely you followed the climb and how you took on the mission of increasing your physical activity. Great job! Keep it Up. Extra special thanks to Nancy Coish and Sharon Stoodley for your extra effort and support of Everest-007.


TA to Write Everest Book! 6/11/2007
I received an email today from someone named Monica. This is what she had to say, “I am still reading and enjoying your wonderful writing. You write so well. ‘Many Everests’ was very nice. Glad you made it home safely. Please, keep writing.”

Interesting timing. Just today I decided to sign the contract that will be my next Everest. My next mountainous challenge will be to put my Everest experience into words that will become a book. The goal is to have the first draft ready by mid autumn so that it can be published just in time for the next Everest season. So Monica, thanks for the pep talk as I need to “buckle down” as my mom would say and keep writing. Time to stop surfing around looking for new mountains and find the words to bring “My Everest” to print.

I was supposed to return home from Everest during this past weekend. There are some who believed I wouldn’t truly settle into being back home until the original arrival date had passed. The transition out of my 18 month Everest journey hasn’t been the smoothest as I’ve struggled to find my way through the large void that remains now that the experience has passed. It’s been tempting to fill the void but instead, I’ve chosen to sit with the emptiness, revel in moving slow, waste time left and right, and obsess about whether or not to replace the Omamobile.

I suspect I’ll soon find myself back into the thick of it as teaching is just around the corner. I’m taking Flat Stanley back to central Newfoundland tomorrow and will present to his school on Wednesday.

Takunda was born a week ago today. In many ways, the past week has been like mountaineering. Go to bed early. Awake in the fresh night just beyond midnight. Find the way in unfamiliar territory. Know that a team is stronger than its individuals. Don’t sleep much. Steep learning curves. Joy. Pain. New views. Sleep. Eat. Burp. Poop. All Takunda is missing is the walk uphill part. That will come!


Many Everests 6/5/2007
Some of you may remember me saying that by descending early from Everest due to the Giardia that I would be able to attend some very important events in the lives of family and friends. Yesterday was one of those events. I watched Takunda Trevor Tembo join this world and I able to be at the side of a dear young woman in my life. Leonorah took on a big Everest challenge five years ago when she journeyed from Mutare, Zimbabwe to St. John’s Newfoundland to begin studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

The miracle of baby toes. The miracle of baby toes.
At the age of seventeen, she left her family and friends and country to begin a journey of learning and exploration that rivels any Everest climb. Now five years later, I welcomed her to the far side of the stage at her convocation and was at her side when she gave birth to her beautiful son.

Today, as I drove to the hospital to visit Leo and Takunda, I heard a radio interview of my teammate-Al Hancock, the first Newfoundlander to summit Mount Everest. I was surprised by the level of grief that washed over me as I listened to Al describe his experience of summitting but I was so glad and grateful that I was able to be here yesterday and today and last week to bear witness other kinds of Everest summits.

Take care,


Back in the Saddle 6/1/2007
This is an iceberg I spotted today from Signal Hill. A friend and I drove out to Blackhead and walked along the East Coast Trail to get closer to the berg. We haven’t had a berg close to the city in quite awhile so it was a delight to get to see one. Another gain from being home early. I was to arrive home a week from tomorrow.

Today I was back presenting to children. I gave a slideshow talk to the Grade 4, 5 and 6 classes at St. Matthew’s Elementary. Many of the children and staff had followed along on the climb and they had some very excellent questions to ask about the expedition. I’ll continue to evolve the presentation but on first go, I was pleased. It’s different doing the talk “without a Hollywood ending” and where the audience knows the ending but I appreciated getting to share some of the amazing things I learned along the Everest path.

Have a good weekend,


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