For those who seek excitement, a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction an adventure provides, climbing mountains is right up there. Not just climbing of course, but summiting — the actual ascent to the very top, the highest point, the summit.
The question of “why climb at all” is paramount to those who prefer armchair adventure. You would have to be there to know the answer.
Charlotte, N.C. native Macon Dunnagan knows why, times 25. That’s exactly how many times Dunnagan, 51, has summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and one of the most popular climbs for willing and well-conditioned adventurers.
Dunnagan climbed Kilimanjaro the first time at the encouragement of his cancer-stricken wife. Since then, he has used the mountain on his personal crusade to make a difference.
In memory of his late wife, Dunnagan, a Rotarian, has solicited donations and sponsorship for his passion for climbing and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research and for Rotary’s worldwide efforts to end polio.
Dunnagan has raised more than $150,000 this year alone, by summiting his mountain four times in just 28 days, a spirit-driven record that will stand for decades. In addition, he has his Kilimanjaro calendar filled with four more ascents next season and several more, through the year 2017.
Dunnagan has a book on the shelves, another soon to be out, and yet another on tap. He does not have a website, but keeps in touch with sponsors and the world via Facebook.
On a lower level, perhaps on a less dangerous note, but an adventure nonetheless, comes the travels of Jim Greer, formally a commercial fisherman. Greer is currently underway on North America’s Great Loop, a connected waterway of rivers, canals, lakes, Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway, and the Gulf Coast Intercoastal Waterway.
The loop totals 6,000 miles, and by the end of his trip Greer will have traveled through Florida, the eastern states to New York then on to Illinois via the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, and much of the Great Lakes chain. Then the route heads south by the rivers Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi.
Greer plans to explore other tributaries and smaller rivers along the way. But that isn’t the best part of this watered journey. It’s the fact that Greer will burn no fuel. His inventive craft is a 48-foot custom-built boat with solar panels and batteries sufficient to power two tiny electric outboards that will provide thrust equivalent to a conventional 9.9 hp gas outboard.
How it works
Fully charged and at full cruise power, the state-of-the-art system will push Greer’s craft along for several hours. The solar panels will recharge the batteries and in the meantime, Greer can power the motors with bicycle-powered generators.
If the trip is under cloudy skies, Greer should be in great shape by the end of the journey. If you haven’t guessed Greer’s 6,000 miles of no-fuel burned and no air-polluting-oil or gas-fumes-breathed travel, is a testament to technology and his devotion to green power.
The electric motors are by German based Torqeedo and are called Cruise 4.0. Full speed on Greer’s boat is 10 mph and cost savings for this trip alone is more than $10,000. In addition, he can use his generating bike to run errands when in ports along the way.
Watch for more and more electric-motor powered pontoon, sail and other boats to show up on as the technology catches on.