An aspiring doctor, avid writer, recipient of the Scholastic Award, French horn player, All State Festival participant, brilliant mathematician, program director of the reminiscence therapy project at Bridges by EPOCH, Dean's List for two semesters at College of William and Mary, and a leader at several clubs at Vanderbilt University.
All of these are Emily's accolades, but most importantly she had a vision to make the world a better place and preserve the beauty of the nature, valleys and mountains. She also hoped to bring advanced education and opportunities to underprivileged after working at the Navajo reservation in New Mexico where she volunteered and enjoyed watching the sunrises at Shiprock.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir
When the sun slowly peeps over the range of mountains, birds shake the morning dew off their feathers and give a cheerful song that would lift even the most sorrowful of spirits. A light fog wraps around the mountain range, reaching to touch every bit of life thriving there. The slight chill in the air is enough to give a gentle shiver, but not enough for the need of a jacket. A breeze tickles the trees, making their leaves shake and sway with laughter. Sunlight seeps in past the thick canopy of branches with hopes of being able to reach the damp mountain earth. There is a relaxing feel of the mountains making it perfect for letting the stress disappear and peace to find its way to one’s soul. And the same experience is seeing the Shiprock who echoes it’s legend. Shiprock is a sacred mountain to the Navajo people that figures prominently in Navajo mythology. The primary legend tells how a great bird carried the ancestral Navajos from the far north to their current homeland in the American Southwest. The ancient Navajos were fleeing from another tribe so shamans prayed for deliverance.
Emily’s mission in life was to find a way that all the children get the experience and opportunities that she had as a child. After volunteering in 2021 at charter school Dream Dine in New Mexico she developed an afterschool STEM program for them. Emily kept in touch with all the young boys and girls from the charter school and would frequently write to them about the beauty of the nature.
"Can you believe it was in May that I was last in Shiprock? I miss the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Of course, I miss all of you as well! Now I am at college in Virginia. Where I live there is so much nature surrounding me. From my room, I can walk to the forest, a river, and a lake. The beach is only a short drive away. Virginia is home to a lot of wildlife. Every morning when I walk by the pond I see a bird called the Great Blue Heron, and there are so many frogs. You can always hear their ribbit if you listen close enough. What kind of wildlife can you find in Shiprock? Tell me about the weather in Shiprock. Is it beginning to cool down? Are the days mostly sunny or cloudy?"
Unfortunately, the majestic beauty of nature took her life away on November 20th in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. On November 20th at 5:30 am, she started her last hike.
Emily had checked the weather the midday on November 19th. The temperatures in the Franconia valley were supposed to be between 27- 35 F. It is unknown if she checked the temperatures on the summit. She felt confident about her summer hikes and thought this hike would not be different, although it was November. Unfortunately, that faithful day, the weather at the top of the mountain was very different than the weather in the valley, and at the top, Emily was met with snow, gust winds of 95 mph, and frigid temperatures below 0F. She was close to finishing her hike and was persistent, so she continued and eventually was blown off the top of the mountain and missed an entrance into a trail. And like every teenager, she relied on the phone, but there was no reception higher in the mountain. All this proved fatal on her final climb in an attempt to finish the 48 peaks on her 20th birthday. Emily found a creek and tried to follow it down the mountain but succumbed to hypothermia by mid-day on November 20th.
Authorities were notified when she didn’t arrive at the designated location that day. After a relentless search and rescue mission by wonderful first responders and volunteers, Emily was found three days later, on her birthday, about a mile from the trail.
In her honor we will continue her dream by making a world a better place by promoting the safety of hiking offering the knowledge and resources and helping the underprivileged.