One local first-grader took his love of hiking to new extreme elevations.
Rowan Taintor, 6, summited five peaks in Juneau within two months this summer: Mount Juneau, Jumbo, Roberts, McGinnis and Thunder Mountain. The five peaks, known informally as the “Big 5,” stand between 2,900 and 4,200 feet.
“I just like exercise and well, (the) view,” Rowan said outside his family’s North Douglas house on Tuesday. “You get to see a good view at the top and it’s really fun.”
The idea came to Rowan at the beginning of the summer while they were hiking up Mount Juneau, said Rowan’s dad, Matt Taintor.
“We were hiking with a guy that had said he planned on hiking the ‘Big 5’ this summer and that just kind of stuck in his head,” Matt said. “And so whenever I had a day off and it was a nice day, he wanted to climb a mountain. He kept wanting to climb McGinnis and I told him we better do the four shorter ones first to make sure that both of us were in shape to do it.”
The duo conquered Mount Jumbo, Mount Roberts and Thunder Mountain in July, and finally Mount McGinnis last Friday. Just like the previous four mountains, Rowan had no problem with McGinnis — the tallest and longest of the five peaks — and was the first one in the hiking group to the top.
Rowan said sandwiches and “gummy worms and gummy rabbits and jelly beans” fueled his adventures.
It turned out Jumbo — not McGinnis — was the most difficult hike, according to Rowan.
“You have to do a lot of scrambling over the roots and rocks,” said Rowan, who completed all five hikes under his own power.
Matt said the challenge spoke of his son’s mental toughness.
“Kids can do a lot more than we give them credit for I believe, both physically and intellectually,” Matt said. “I think it more has to do with wanting to do it than that ability physically.”
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.