What can you do to save freedom today?

Today Americans remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, but this weekend I had the privilege to visit the Liberty Bell and saw the picture below.Martin Luther King Jr with Liberty Bell rvp 1 19 2020 What can you do to save freedom today?Today, the third Monday in January is the day Americans observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. Dr. King was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, but he also stood for peace. I like to think that on February 1, National Freedom Day, he would still be visiting our Liberty Bell in the City of Brotherly Love.

Saturday, I was in Philadelphia, and Tifany and I took the time to visit the Liberty Bell. It has been more than 30 years since I last visited the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The last time I was with my grandparents as a young boy. My grandfather was a Quaker, and he taught me every day about principles he believed in:

  • Peace
  • Religious Tolerance
  • Helping Others

He lived these principles in everything he did, and I remember most of his gentle greeting when he said hello to someone. If the other person said, “How are you today?” his reply would always be, “All the better for meeting you today.”

This was one of the Quakerisms he developed on his own over his life, and I encourage everyone reading this to do three things:

  1. Use my grandfather’s greeting to make someone smile today.
  2. Help someone else in need today.
  3. Remember that peace was part of Dr. King’s message too.

The image above includes the following description: “In 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Emmanual Wright, leaders of the modern Civil Rights Movement, participated in the annual tradition of celebrating National Freedom Day, the commemoration of the Thirteenth Amendment, at the Liberty Bell begun by Dr. Wright’s father. Photograph. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Emmanuel C. Wright at the Liberty Bell,” February 1, 1959. Courtesy, Urban Archives, Temple University Library.”


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Hiking Expedition

On August 9, 2019, three generations of my family left Glastonbury, CT, on a two-week hiking expedition to complete three of the highest peaks in the USA.

Our plan for the hiking expedition was to hike four of the highest peaks. My father, Bob Packard (age 77), is trying to complete all 50 of the highest peaks in each of the United States. For this trip we planned to hike the following mountains:
  1. Wheeler Peak – New Mexico
  2. Kings Peak – Utah
  3. Borah Peak – Idaho
  4. Granite Peak – Montana

Bailey Packard (18), Noah Packard (20), Rob Packard (47), and Bob Packard (77) started on Friday, August 9, from Glastonbury, CT.

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Glastonbury, CT

Then we drove West for a long time. On Saturday, August 10, we stopped at the Waffle House.

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Waffle House

Then we got back in the car.

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Finally, on Sunday, August 11, we arrived at the base of Wheeler Peak. We decided to hike it that day despite not acclimating to the altitude and not sleeping in two days.

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Bailey Packard

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Noah Packard

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Wheeler Peak

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Then we headed back across the ridge and down to the car. The evening we drove to Colorado and slept. The following morning, Monday, August 12, we drove through Colorado.

Driving through Colorado 300x169 Hiking Expedition

That evening we arrived at Henry’s Fork Trail Head in Utah several hours after dark. We pitched tents in the parking area and slept for the night. In the morning, Tuesday, August 13, we woke to ice on our tents. Then we began the long hike into the valley (see Bailey’s video above).

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We were all carrying too much gear, and we needed some rest.

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While we enjoyed the view of the valley.

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Later we saw a couple of moose (Bailey got close enough for a selfie).

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We slept the night just below Gun Sight Pass and then headed up Kings Peak in the morning of Wednesday, August 14.

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Another spectacular view.

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Then we headed back across the ridge (very challenging and exposed).

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That afternoon Bailey got lost, but we found him back at the tents several hours later just before dark. Noah was exhausted and took a nap in the middle of the Gun Sight Pass. We all slept well and hiked back to the car in the morning of Thursday, August 15.

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Then we drove to Idaho Falls, and we had all you can eat steak at Stockman’s.

We took at rest day on Friday, August 16. On Saturday, it was perfect weather, and we drove to Borah Peak in Idaho–just two hours Northwest from Idaho Falls. We arrived just after 6 am and began hiking as the sun rose.

Borah Peak 300x225 Hiking Expedition

Now I understand why Wheeler was rated a 1+ in difficulty. Kings Peak was rated a 2+ in difficulty, and Borah is 3+ in difficulty. There is a 2,000+ foot cliff on both sides of a goat path across a knife-edge. There is sharp, jagged shale everywhere and no trees. Winds are fierce, and it’s not a windy day. Temperatures were in the low 40s. I decided to “chicken out” just before we got to “Chicken Out Ridge.”

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This is where Rob waited for the others.

The ice bridge was not expected, and dozens of weekend hikers with no experience were trying to crawl across the ice. Bailey used his knife for extra grip on the ice. Bob was almost knocked off the mountain by a falling boulder, and they made it to the peak waiting for Bailey’s pictures to be added later.

Then we all headed down the mountain.

Dad and Bailey on Borah e1566921715900 225x300 Hiking Expedition

Noah on Borah e1566921886585 225x300 Hiking Expedition

Rob on Borah e1566921940799 225x300 Hiking Expedition

The following day, Sunday, August 18, we drove home our feet were too sore to attempt Granite Peak. But along the way, we stopped on Monday, August 19 at Portillo’s for

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Chocolate Cake Shake

Thank you for your support, and thank you to Noah and Bailey for joining my dad and me on this hiking expedition. These are memories we’ll never forget.

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