Nearly 40 Dawoodi Bohra youngsters from throughout the US convened at Mohammedi Masjid in Fremont, California, to hike to the summit of White Mountain. This endeavor brought together men and women adventurers for a journey that would not only test their physical limits but also foster camaraderie and create lifetime memories.
Nestled within the Inyo National Forest in Eastern California, White Mountain Peak stands at 14,252 feet above sea level, serving as a testament to the breathtaking natural beauty of the region. This alpine wonderland is known for its stunning vistas, diverse ecosystems, and the rarefied air that beckons hikers to ascend its rocky slopes.
The hike to the summit promised an exhilarating experience, filled with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, glimpses of elusive wildlife, and the sense of accomplishment that only conquering such a challenging peak can bring. Along the way, the hikers met other mountaineers who became a source of encouragement and guidance in maneuvering throughout their route with the weather conditions.
One of the hike organizers, Murtaza, recounts the moment when Hurricane Hilary unexpectedly swept over White Mountain, casting an unforeseen shadow over the expedition: “We were all prepared for the usual challenges of high-altitude hiking,” Murtaza recalls, “but nature had a surprise in store for us. As we descended back down from the summit, the weather rapidly deteriorated. The wind picked up, the sky darkened, and before we knew it, snow was swirling around us. But together, we made it!”
“The journey was an embodiment of teamwork and determination. As the group ascended the trail, they formed bonds that transcended age and background. Encouraging one another, sharing stories, and helping those who needed it, the participants epitomized the spirit of unity that is often forged in the crucible of shared challenges,” said Yushea, another organizer of the hike.
But what really makes this journey stand out is the human connection that developed during this arduous trek. We caught up with some of the hikers to learn about their experiences:
Zahabiyah Alibhai – Dallas – 22
- What were the difficulties going up? “I knew in my head that mountaineering is basically 50% willpower but I didn’t believe it until the final stretch. My body literally felt like it was seconds away from completely shutting down, falling to the ground, but my mind and my friends’ motivation is what kept one foot going after another. I’d honestly say, it’s more like 80%.”
- What did you do that strengthened bonds? “We honestly just kept motivating each other. The second someone felt demotivated, everyone would chime in and fill the air with positivity again. My ranger and main motivator (who also happened to be my husband) would tell me ‘You’re way too strong not to summit this mountain, it’s just not possible.’ Since I was in a group with a lot of long-time friends, we shared many memories and imagined the future days of bringing our kids on these hikes together.”
Husain Motiwala – Houston – 22
- What were the difficulties going up? “One big struggle for me was the never-ending feeling of the mountain. Anytime you would look up, it looked like you were almost there, the summit was just up ahead! But you keep walking and realize the sheer scale of the mountain and how much more there was actually left. It really was a humbling experience seeing that this was a huge mountain, an immovable, unstoppable, infinite-seeming force of nature.”
- What did you do that strengthened bonds? “Surprisingly, it was the shared hardships and common problems we faced together along with the communal dedication to overcoming them that strengthened the bonds between our fellow hikers. We were all struggling to climb the mountain together and doing it with other community members just made it much better.”
Abdulqadir Chiba – Houston – 20
- What were the difficulties going up? “The mental battle of keeping one foot in front of the other because you could see the peak but it wouldn’t get closer but you know you had to get there.”
- What did you do that strengthened bonds? “What strengthened bonds was everyone kinda had the same goal, summiting and getting back down so going through the struggle together made it easier.”
Aziz Poonawala – Los Angeles – 49
- What were the difficulties going up? “The biggest difficulty going up was being out of breath. But that was on the way up. On the way down, tired legs were a big difficulty.”
- What did you do that strengthened bonds? “The common bond was the notable shared events and milestones. The late-night angry campers. Snow and hail. Stopping on switchbacks to catch our breath. Weary, subdued, quiet exhilaration of summiting. And finally reaching the trailhead at the end.”
This group assembles every year, building a community of outdoor enthusiasts and taking on challenges around the world. Their commitment to leaving no trace and taking care of the environment reflects the values taught to the community by His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin. The group would not only leave their campsites better than they found them, but also organized a clean-up drive to pick up plastic bits, bags, batteries, cutlery, and anything else that other hikers may have left behind.
Beyond being a physical test, this hike was a journey of self-discovery and the strengthening of bonds that will last a lifetime. We congratulate all the adventurers who made the trek, not just for conquering the summit but for forging lasting connections amidst the breathtaking beauty of White Mountain Peak.