RMCNews with MHANews – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Mile High Academy’s fifth-grader Bailey, recently returned to Colorado after spending two weeks in Argentina attempting to be the youngest female to summit Mount Aconcagua, which stands at over 22,000 feet, making it the tallest mountain outside of Asia.

When the family began planning their adventure, Bailey’s parents reached out to MHA, stating that Bailey wanted to turn her hike into a fundraiser for the music department.

“Bailey truly and passionately loves music, and it was hard during COVID to not have an official music teacher,” said Trisha, Bailey’s mother. “She is thankful to have one [now] and the Christmas concert was amazing. Bailey felt the donation would really make an impact on the music department, which is a class she looks forward to each week.”

It took the family three days of hiking to reach base camp, followed by intense eight-to-ten-hour days of hiking toward the summit. The family recalls memories of the trip, including hiking to a lake and going into a glacier tunnel.

“Hiking these high-altitude mountains is incredibly challenging, but the best part is we get to tackle them as a family,” said Trisha. “We train daily and spend our weekends hiking, so it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s all worth it when the hike comes. We feel that life is all about experiences, and we definitely had a lot of experiences on the hike.”

Unfortunately, the family wasn’t able to make it to the summit. During a rush down the mountain due to extremely bad weather, Miles, the father, fell and severely sprained his knee. He needed emergency evacuation, experienced knee inflammation, and had to undergo physical therapy. In total, Bailey walked up 18,200 feet before being evacuated.

In total, more than $3000 was raised, which will help MHA refurbish instruments within the music department and purchase new items that will continue to grow the MHA music program.

“Bailey’s smile and energy are such an inspiration at MHA,” said Andrew Carpenter, MHA principal. “We were cheering her and her family on their adventure and have enjoyed her stories now that she is back home with us again. We are also grateful for God’s healing hand and that Miles didn’t sustain a worse injury. A huge thank you to all the donors for their generosity and the kind donations to our music department. And a special thank you to Bailey and her parents for their kindness in turning their experience into a fundraising opportunity for our school. The donations received will help our music department grow through proper refurbishment and the purchase of several new items. Thank you, Bailey!”

When asked if they plan to hike Mt. Aconcagua again, Trisha said, “Yes, we are in talks to try it again in the next year or so. We learned a lot. Bailey knows that you don’t always succeed at everything your first time, but you need to learn from it, try again, and never give up!”

–RMCNews with MHANews; photos supplied

This article was adapted from an article in Mile High Academy’s newsletter.