This article previously appeared in the Spring 2020 Long Trail News. It was previously posted on our blog on March 5th.
When I first met Ephraim Maciejowski, he was upside down on a swinging bar on a play structure in my neighborhood. He heard me talking about working at the Green Mountain Club, and exclaimed, “I donate every month to the Green Mountain Club!” Since then in weekly encounters after school, we have developed a bond based on our love for the outdoors, and especially for the Long Trail.
This summer he climbed Camel’s Hump with friends at the camp my kids attend. When he returned, I asked him how his day had been. His eyes lit as he described in detail the route they took, what they ate, and every animal and person they encountered. He also told me that he had first climbed Camel’s Hump when he was four years old, but that he didn’t really remember it.
Recently I talked with Ephraim about hiking and why he donates monthly. I wondered what inspired him to be so charitable, and wanted to learn more about his outdoor adventures
Alicia: What do you like about hiking?
Ephraim: I enjoy the outdoors, especially taking in the peace and the fresh air. I like listening to the sounds, like the creeks and the water and the wind through the leaves of the trees. I also like the views of the alpine zone. I like to go up the Long Trail to the Forehead of Mansfield so that you can be in the alpine zone. I really like it there.
A: Do you have a favorite hike?
E: I don’t really have one favorite hike, but Mount Adams in New Hampshire, because there are a ton of views and not too many people. Also, Mount Abe from Lincoln Gap, because I like the last part where you’re going up and you’re almost there, and then you can see the view all around you. Then I like to go back down on the ridge to check out the plane crash.
A: Why did you start donating to the Green Mountain Club?
E: I really think supporting the mountains is important, and I like to hike them, and I know that the trails need to be maintained. (You know, so I don’t get lost.) It might not be a lot of money, but it’s a lot of money for me. And I know every little bit counts. I think other people should think about donating because if you really appreciate the trail and like to hike in the mountains, then you should help maintain them. Also, there are a lot of people who hike the Long Trail, so it needs to be maintained.
So far Ephraim has hiked the five 4,000-foot mountains in Vermont, and is working on the 48 in New Hampshire. He started climbing the New Hampshire peaks with Mount Washington when he was seven, and he hopes to complete the 48th on his tenth birthday this July. He thinks he will hike the entire 272-mile Long Trail when he is 12 or 13 with his parents, and then maybe the Appalachian Trail when he is 17.
I look forward to hearing more about Ephraim’s hiking adventures, and hope he continues to inspire others with his enthusiasm and appreciation for the work that goes into caring for trails. I also hope he always finds peace and calm in the alpine zone. His example certainly makes me want to work to protect it.