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Fulfilling Gary Atkinson's Dream of Hiking Up Mount Fitzroy

Jan. 19, 2023

Note from Jim Neil on Facebook

So this is Mt Fitzroy. And I have a story. It might be especially interesting to all the LHS peeps out there. We head back into time, the summer I was 14. That summer I went on 3-4 backpacking trips with my good friend Gary Atkinson. Many of you reading this know that Gary tragically died aboard Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland.

Gary was a fellow Eagle Scout and loved to backpack. We talked of many things that summer and I learned a lot. But what we talked about most was backpacking (and girls), mostly where we wanted to hike and camp. Gary’s biggest fantasy was to backpack in Patagonia and to Mt Fitzroy in particular. I don’t recall how he knew about Fitzroy, but I know I learned of it through him. And I too always wanted to visit it. It seems very prescient of him, doesn’t it? I mean he heard of and wanted to visit it long before the rest of us. And now it is probably the most recognizable peak in the world. In fact, many of you have the likeness of this peak in your home. Maybe several times over.

Anyway, I made it today. A relatively grueling 11 hour hike. I think Gary would get a chuckle out of the fact that I hiked it with a fellow Valedictorian, one more geeky than he. Hard to believe, I know.

Anyway, this post is for Gary. I hope he saw me wave to him today.

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