From running 10 miles in the summer heat, to wearing a 60-pound pack on a stair climber at Valley Fitness Center in Unionville, to using an ice axe on hilly terrain behind the FAVARH building in Canton, Patrick Kral has had one busy summer of training.
All that is on top of the six or more hours a day he works in the wood bundling business for , formally known as the ARC of the Farmington Valley, which supports people with intellectual disabilities.
But the Avon resident had his sights on the summit of Mount Rainier in Washington.
This Saturday, Kral leaves with FAVARH Executive Director Steve Morris and expedition leaders Walt and Ann Hampton of Canton on a journey that will lead to five or six days of climbing and winter camping. Kral's parents won't be climbing but will also go out West with their son.
Kral, 32, said he’s only slightly nervous and really excited.
“I’m a big outdoorsman,” he said. “This will be the biggest mountain I’ve ever done.”
Kral has had many other adventures, including skydiving, marathons, skiing and a winter summit up Mount Washington in 2010. Hampton said he was the first-ever Special Olympian to do so.
The team also did some sub-zero winter camping in the White Mountains this past year, Morris said.
“That was a good indicator that we could do it and survive,” Morris said.
Despite a cardiac arrest in January, Morris has continued to train with Kral. They go to the gym together on Tuesdays and often one other day a week.
“We worked up to the 60-pound backpacks,” Morris said. “That was a challenge for both of us."
Recently, the pair even began wearing boots and other gear on the machine. Of course, the mountain will add the element of weather and views.
"One thing that will change is the scenery," Morris said.
While Kral prefers running, Morris is more of a biker.
“We’ve both been cross training in different ways,” he said.
The Hamptons are experienced mountaineers and will guide the trip, assisted by Anthony Joseph of Nevada.
The trip is sponsored by several rotary clubs including Avon-Canton, Farmington, West Hartford and Guilford. International Mountain Equipment of North Conway, New Hampshire, is also supporting the effort.
Follow the adventure at http://patrickkralinspires.com/