In an effort to get more people outdoors and enjoy the state’s natural areas, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection challenged residents to hike at least 10 of the state’s highest peaks.
The challenge was called “The Sky’s the Limit” challenge, and one participant managed to climb 14 of the state’s peaks.
The program kicked off in the summer and will come to an end on Jan. 1.
DEEP will announce the winners of the hiking challenge on Friday, following one final climb, and Stephen Wood is one of the challenge’s success stories.
Wood tackled all 14 peaks within the last few months, but he didn’t do it alone. He brought his 9-year-old son who has special needs, along for the trek.
“Taking my older son, to me, was a huge accomplishment. I’m not sure he fully understood the gravity of what he was able to accomplish, it was not easy at times... but he did it. And it was one of the most proud moments of my life,” Wood said, adding that he also brought his 4-year-old son along for 11 hikes.
The program was not only a personal challenge for families. It allowed residents to open their eyes to the natural beauty the state has to offer.
“Some of my favorites were highlighted too, like Dennis Hill in Norfolk. And Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, which not a lot of people get to but they are some of the most beautiful areas in southern new England,” Wood said.
Officials said 234 people successfully hiked all 14 of the highest peaks this year, and 50 of them will be eligible to receive a hand crafted walking stick made by Connecticut’s Wood Carver’s Association.
The winners will be announced at 3 p.m. on Friday, after a hike.
Over 400 people hiked at least 10 of the designated locations and received hiking staff medallions.
But for Wood and his two sons, it was all about challenging themselves and completing their goal.
“Trudging up Sleeping Giant with some real two, three mile hikes was really rewarding as a father,” Wood added.
DEEP is planning on trying another type of challenge next year, and Wood said he and his family will participate.
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