Way back in 2006, I was scheduled on a trip to climb Mt. Shasta. The mountain has personal significance for me and I had been training intensely for it. Always supportive of my sometimes insane endeavours, during a outdoor outfitting shopping excursion, my two boys took a detour into Build a Bear to make a surprise gift for me. They came out with a perfect purple hippo…light lavender with the palest of turquoise and pink spots all over (and the biggest stuffed butt you have ever laid eyes on!) I fell in love with her immediately. She was a limited edition but, to make it even more special, my boys named her Summit and dated her birthday the scheduled date of my climb. While the climb didn’t happen (although I’m still determined to do it) Summit has been a companion on my travels ever since.
She started out easy…car camping and a few weekend backpacking trips. When she kept trying to steal my hiking boots, we knew it was time for bigger adventures.
Her first big trip was to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park where she got to check out the views, hike some of the Appalachian trail and learn how to make horseshoes from a park ranger (she didn’t like that…it was too hot).
She hiked to the top of Clingman’s Dome but once up the winding stairway, she seemed a little uneasy about looking over the edge so I helped her overcome her fears.
Her next big adventure was in the mountains of Colorado at Rocky Mountain National Park. She kept escaping to look at the views again and then tried to hide in a downed log.
Since her first trips, she has been all over the states of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri. She’s been in high rise hotels in cities like San Francisco and New York and tiny bed and breakfasts in towns so small they aren’t even on a map. She’s been to New Orleans, Space Camp, and a thatched covered cabana in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. She’s sat on beaches watching the sunset, taken unplanned swims in rapid rivers, lazed contently on inland lakes, and slept beside tigers. She’s nursed tears from my boys when nothing else would help, been a pillow for me at home and on airlines, and wears dirt and scars from her many adventures. Her neck is a bit floppy from her years of hugs, her fur quite muddled from trails and her butt even larger than before as her stuffing settles in. But she’s mine and, one day, she will get to the top of Mt. Shasta…but for now she’s having a wonderful time just living in the moment.