Travels with Bradford

Life has a funny way of shaking up agendas. There’s nothing like something fuzzy and warm to set priorities straight.

Sarah Wood, my boss and Museum Operations Guru Manager, found a little feline fuzzball stumbling around the front of the American Mountain Center yesterday morning. Knowing I’m the Mother Teresa of the animal kingdom, she brought him in to Base Camp and said…”I hate to do this to you….”

Requests like this should be so imposing! This little brown tabby, weighing just a pound, is the little adventurer. He hand feeds formula voraciously, pees a lot, sleeps in a sling close to his new mama, and plays with leonine courage.

But mostly he sleeps. Kittens do that. At three weeks old he’s entitled.

All-day searches yielded no evidence of a litter or family or owner. And so we introduce a new character into this museum family – Bradford.

We’ll keep you posted of Bradford’s development alongside the Museum’s. There’s something wonderful about watching things grow from infancy to maturity. And I have a feeling Bradford’s development is going to be inspirational.


The Best Things in Life ARE Free!

The party’s over. It’s time to call it a day. The First Annual Hall of Mountaineering Excellence is run, cleaned up, and put to bed. (And this blogger now remembers why she doesn’t wear heels.)

It was an amazing success. All the months of planning, researching, negotiating, promoting, structuring, and evaluating paid off. Bates, Chouinard, Craig and Houston now have their names etched permanently in our mountaineering history. They will always be our heroes.

My personal heroes, though, are the folks who volunteered their time to do the grunt work last night. You know, pouring drinks, serving food, providing information and (my favorite thing) cleaning up. As the production schedule and needs were mounted, we drew in more and more bodies to help in advance of the event. Not having met many of them, either, lent a bit of worry prior to the start of the night.

Employers should have such a diligent, responsible, hard-working crew as we had for the Gala. Each one assumed assigned tasks like a pro, assisting one another, communicating needs to the coordinator, keeping a close eye on guest needs, staying upbeat as the evening wore on, going above and beyond what someone earning wages for the same work would even do.

So, helmets off to you, Dan, Bob, Larke, Sparky, Steve, Camille, Ian, Micah, Aaron, Dave, George, and Lee. My apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone, but I’m still trying to figure out what possessed me to wear heels.

Oh, and I still owe you all pizza.


The Family of Mountaineering Excellence

A call came through to the Museum yesterday from a woman whom I’ll call Lana (to protect her privacy) asking if so-and-so would be presenting at the April 10th Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Gala and accepting the award for one of the inductees already in Valhalla. As it turns out, yes.

As it really turns out, Lana had been on an expedition to Mt. Robson in August of 1951 with five fellows and our presenter was one of them. She was invited to proceed to the top of the glacier then was politely asked to descend while the boys continued on to the summit. Interestingly enough, Mother Nature had her usual way and the summit team was stuck mountainside through several days of winter storms, so no one topped out that trip.

Lana went on to marry one of her expedition mates. Almost 50 years later and her husband now deceased she called to see if she might reconnect with so-and-so since they are the only two surviving members of that August, 1951 expedition.

Come on. How cool is that?!

It is such a privilege to be at the hub of stories, reunions, and history. The mountains are our common ground and they draw us together. And even though the Gala on April 10th is devoted to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence, we’re really celebrating a unique and wonderful family bonded by the excellence we find in our mountain experiences. Maybe we can call it Six Peaks of Separation since we’re all so obviously connected.

It’ll be interesting to see what transpires with Lana and if she has the chance to reunite with her mountaineering partner. In the meantime, we’ll keep on keepin’ on with the Gala (ticket sales will be cut off on Monday) and with the family that gets closer, bigger and more interesting with each passing day. All because of the Little Museum that Could.