Yuma 12-12-12 Challenge
"Telegraph Pass" painting by Becky Beckers
What is it?
Well, it’s the Yuma 12-12-12 Challenge! This is a special day because the month, day, and year are the same—this is the last time this will ever happen in our lifetimes! Last year, on 11-11-11, I set out to hike Telegraph Pass 11 times in a row. After roughly 7 ½ hours, I succeeded. I met many people along the mountain that day and the days following. Most people thought I was insane, but there were actually several people that said that they would have joined me if they had known about it ahead of time. So, here’s the announcement to all healthy, able-bodied hikers in and around the Yuma, AZ area: Please come and join me in my quest to hike Telegraph Pass 12 times in a row on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. The event will begin at 6:30 am (please plan on getting there no later than 6:15 am), and will start at “The Gate” (the gate at the bottom of the mountain).
Everyone is welcome to come out and hike it as many times as they feel comfortable, but I encourage everybody to try to hike it at least one more time than you think you can (up to 12 times). So, if you’ve never hiked Telegraph Pass before, come out and hike it once! If you’ve hiked it in the past, come out and hike it two times in a row! The event is about challenging yourself, and overcoming obstacles in your brain that might prevent you from doing something like this. It’s about believing in yourself!
Sometimes it’s easier to accomplish something hard if you attempt it in the name of a loved one or friend who is struggling with something – I will be completing this challenge on behalf of my sweet and amazingly wonderful brother-in-law, Chuck. Chuck was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and he is doing everything he can to fight it. I will be hiking the entire day in support of research and awareness of this horrible condition, and I hope you will too.
How much does it cost?
The event is free, but if you’d like to help us raise a little money to donate to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, please click here to buy your 12-12-12 t-shirt, and wear it the day of the event. You can choose from a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, and we will be donating the profits (roughly $8 per shirt) to the MJF Foundation for every 12-12-12 shirt we sell. If you buy a shirt, you will also receive a fancy finisher’s medal upon completion of the event! Every dollar helps, so I hope you’ll decide to buy the shirt and wear it on 12-12-12.
Why is this event so small?
Essentially, this is just a small, informal, word-of-mouth event. Whether you’ve hiked Telegraph Pass, and have heard about the event from a fellow hiker, or you’ve been personally invited by me, or you’re just bored and happened to stumble upon this website and think it sounds like a fun and rewarding way to spend your day – you are all welcome to participate. There are a number of reasons why we were unable to create a big, fancy “event” for this occasion. Here are just a few:
- There is currently construction going on at the top of the mountain. Trucks will be making frequent trips up and down the mountain at all hours of every day until January, 2013. Therefore, we didn’t think it was safe to create a formal, organized, all-day event that would involve people having to stand on the sides of the road/cliff and wait while trucks traveled back and forth.
- Access to the start/finish area is difficult to get to. There are a few options:
- You can park your car at the end of North Frontage Road, and hike the 1.5 miles in to the start line.
- You can have a friend drop you off at the construction entrance to Telegraph Pass, which is located off of I-8 Westbound. There is no parking allowed at this area, though, so you definitely don’t want to leave your vehicle there.
- If you have an ATV or high profile 4-Wheel Drive, you can drive directly to the start line by taking the ATV road at the end of North Frontage Road. This is a treacherous road, though, so if you haven’t already assessed whether or not your vehicle can make it over that terrain, you might want to take a hike out there ahead of time and check it out.
- If you have a 4-Wheel Drive, you can park in the desert on the opposite side of the freeway. Just take South Frontage Road all the way out as far as you can go, and when you see the mountain directly across the freeway, park in the desert and hike under the freeway overpass.
- We don’t have permission from the owners of the road to use this mountain for a large, formal event. We are proceeding under the thought that there are thousands of people that hike this mountain every week, and we're just a few more of those hikers….we’re just choosing to hike it 12 times that day. :0)
- There are no restroom facilities available.
- There are no medical stations (though there will be volunteers around sporadically throughout the day that are able to hand out minor supplies like Band-aids and Vaseline).
- Refreshments are limited: There will be a limited amount of fruit and light vegan snacks available throughout the day, but you should bring your own drinks and meals.
Can I bring my kids/dogs?
Believe me, I’m a dog lover! I love my dogs dearly, and they hike this mountain twice a day with me, so they’re excellent hikers. But, 12 times is a lot of times! I will be leaving my dogs at home, and I suggest you do, too. It is too dangerous to challenge dogs, children, or anyone who isn’t an able-bodied hiker to complete this challenge. This event will likely take 8+ hours to complete, and we want everybody to be safe and happy!
What should I bring?
- Electrolyte enhanced drinks and/or water (a couple of gallons would be good, and just clearly label them so everyone knows they’re yours)
- Food for the entire day (in addition to electrolyte chews/gels and power bars, it’s a good idea to bring your lunch and dinner with you)
- A permanent marker (last year, I kept track of my trips up the mountain by writing hash marks on my sleeve – it worked out really well. Plus, you could have fellow hikers sign your shirt as you pass by.)
- Anything that you think you will need for the day (sunscreen, ice, Kleenex, hiking sticks, a hat, etc.)
- Please help us keep the mountain clean, and pack everything out with you when you leave.
- Because this isn’t a formal event, we won’t be asking you to sign a release waiver (as is customary for racing/challenge events). This is a “Hike at your own risk” event. Please don’t attempt this challenge if you have reservations about it – we don’t want anyone getting hurt. If you don’t think you’re ready for an event like this, just come out and root people on!
- In order for a trip to count, you must go from the gate at the bottom of the hill to the bench area at the top and back down to the gate. There will be a table at the gate area (and hopefully a volunteer, but that’s a long day for ANY volunteer, so it may be manned only periodically). We’ll be asking you to sign in at the start line and put a hash mark next to your name when you complete each trip. You may choose to also put a hash mark on your shirt.
- This isn’t a “race”, so there’s no need to push yourself beyond your physical limits. You are encouraged to take breaks, sit down, stretch, rub your feet – whatever you need to do to get through the day. However, daylight is a factor. The few volunteers that I will be able to scrounge up for the day will likely call it quits by around 4 or 5 pm. So, if you would like to continue after dark, please make sure to bring a flashlight with you.
- Again, if you don’t feel like being a crazy person and hiking Telegraph Pass 12 times on 12-12-12, please consider just buying a t-shirt for yourself or a friend so that more money can be donated to Parkinson’s research.
- If you have any questions or need parking advice, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see some familiar and new faces on 12-12-12!
Hugs and happy hiking,
Think you can do it?
Click here to buy your shirt
The price of $19.99 - $40.99 includes:
- A short or long sleeve shirt in white, black, yellow, green, navy, cardinal, brown, red, or violet
- An awesome finisher's medal
- At least one high-five with a smile