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The Wolfpack

Matt Johnson and Wheeler Peak

Nick Hedges, Reporter

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Just under a hundred miles from Santa Fe, Wheeler Peak soars 13,000 feet into the sky. There isn’t a taller summit in New Mexico.

Standing at the base of the mountain is senior Matt Johnson, unsure of the daunting task he faces. He’s about to attempt to climb every foot of Wheeler. Dangerous slopes, adverse traverses and undeniable heat all await him upon his ascent, but as always, he’s undeterred, and his journey soon begins.

To summit Wheeler, Mount Walter must also be beaten. The second-tallest point in the state, this precipice boasts many features similar to Wheeler, and Johnson must overcome it, too. Even though the task seems near-impossible, Johnson presses on.

As you can probably guess, Johnson eventually reaches the summit, taking in the oddly thin-but-warm air, peering down on all he had conquered, a king atop the New Mexican wilderness. The tricky rock formations, the unpredictable wildlife and the harsh environment are all defeated.

Considering the perseverance needed to claim Wheeler Peak, it’s no surprise Johnson has pushed on through his years in high school. Whether it was as a member of the drumline, or in one of his many advanced classes, Johnson didn’t give in. It may sound cliche, but, at the end of the day, the reality of his experiences haven’t changed. Beating Wheeler Peak revealed what he was capable of, and Johnson hasn’t looked back since.

As college begins, the lessons learned at Wheeler won’t soon be forgotten. As Johnson continues onto Texas A&M, he’ll have to persevere to achieve his aspirations, but that’s nothing new to him. No matter how tall the mountain before him, there’s little doubt he’ll soon stand atop it.

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Matt Johnson and Wheeler Peak