Final Dispatch from the guides

June 23rd

As I sit drinking a cup of coffee and enjoying these sunshine on this, the longest day of the year, I think back on the trip and the friendships made. It is amazing to think that a group of strangers can meet, gel, and climb the highest mountain on the continent and then travel back to their homes. We all were so different, but in the end we worked together and were a team from start to finish. Although we are scattered around the globe, I know that all of our lives will be changed through the catalyst of meeting one another.

The flight out after the long night was restful for some and scenic for others. It is always amazing feeling the moist air come back, the smell of trees, and the sound of running water yet again. We peeled off the clothing in the talkeetna air taxi parking lot, and let the sun touch our arms again. Breakfast at the roadhouse was great, having to not have to work for the food and filling up on coffee for the ride back to anchorage. The return trip was like a long relaxing sigh. It is always good getting back from the trip, but again it is amazing to think about what one team can accomplish together.

A celebration was had over a good meal and drinks back in town. Friends saluted each other, laughs flowed freely, and the bond of a friendship never to be forgotten was solidified.

Allen, it was great having someone from Texas there to add to the friendly atmosphere. You said yourself that you climbed mountains for a living, and you did wonderfully on this one as well.

Peter, Dublin’s finest. You make all fire fighters proud. Your humor, friendly encouraging attitude was wonderful to have on the trip. Plus your hair smells so lemony fresh.

Bruno, who truly cannot be stopped. It was awesome having you up there, as you never. Complained and always said that you were a ten out of ten. I know that this was your first big mountain, but I hope that it is not the last.

Jarno, my friend, it is great having a fellow teacher and someone who is always grateful and polite. Truly awesome that you always were there to help out.

Kjell, it is great having family up there. I feel like we became friends, but I thought that it was great that you were up on the summit with family.  You were always willing to help dig, and your fitness is great. If the rest of Belgium is like the three of you, it is a truly amazing place.

Alex, I read your article at the beginning of the trip, and didn’t know what to expect. I can honestly say that at the end of the journey I am truly proud to have spent time with you up there. I truly believe that you were the strongest person on this trip.

Jeff, I would write something about you, but you probably beat me to it. And made hot water, and updated my Facebook for me, and built a snow wall, and dug a mid, and saved a small orphan in Bangladesh. Your moral fortitude is great. Truly an honor to spend time with you up there.

Ilikka, truly great having a quiet strong team member, who always says please and thank you. It was great meeting you, and I am glad to have someone from Finland who does so so so much more than just stare at my shoes.

Jacques. Wow. All I can say is you are a machine. You made Denali seem easy, but I guess for someone who eats marathons for breakfast, it might have been. Truly awesome meeting you.

All of you have become friends I will never forget. A great team, a successful team, and wonderful friends.

I am forever thankful for having met all of you,

Bill Dwyer

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