Ambassador Spotlight: Bill Furey

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not hiking?

I lost my father to cancer when I was in the 6th grade. I was asked by the middle school science teacher who thought it would be good for me to hike the Grand Canyon with three other students and him the following year. It changed my life for good. I call it getting my Soul-care. I established the Heritage Hiking Club the following year, when he asked me to go again. The year was 1976. The rest is history…

I've been leading hikes all over (peaks in our local mountains, Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, Sierra Nevada, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Sawtooth Mountains, etc. ever since. I was with REI for several years in my teens, thru hiked the John Muir Trail one summer in high school, co-owned my own Outdoor Mountain Shop while going to college in my twenties and was even a North Face Rep for a while. Then I got serious, finished college, taught school for 19 years and am now an Elementary School Principal in the City of Orange, California.

What has the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge meant to you?

It means I can lead others to these amazing peaks that I have climbed since I was a kid. I've hiked them all more than, lets just say a lot. So I love the idea of taking hikers to these peaks to get their Soul-care as well as mine. And they feel such a sense of accomplishment.

What is your favorite hike in the Six-Pack of Peaks and why?

San Gorgonio, the joy is in the journey. I help Heritage Hikers to condition the other less elevation peaks as we build up to hiking Mount San Gorgonio, Old Greyback.

Bill Furey on San Gorgonio

Share one of your most memorable adventures. What makes it so special?

8th grade (Bright Angel Trail) when I sensed an overwhelming feeling while I was hiking the Grand Canyon that I was going to be leading people into the mountains to discover themselves and receive soul-care. Didn't quite know what that meant or how it would shake out to be but I can tell ya, I have been leading hikes ever since.

What’s one piece of gear that you never hike without?

There are a few items, and not really specifically gear. I'm a gear junkie, so gear is not a problem -examples- I own 16 backpacks of all capacities, 11 pair of boots for all types of terrain, and my third car garage is full of tons of gear- all organized. So here goes- It may sound funny, but electrolyte water, salty snacks, and a first aid kit. I mainly bring it for me, but it sure has helped many a hiker along the trail that I run into.

Share a quote, song, or another inspirational item that helps get you through the toughest hikes/life moments.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

Psalm 8:3-4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 96:11-12 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy. Let the trees of the forest sing for joy

What upcoming adventures are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

The next one. Not kidding. I've learned to enjoy all of them. Local hikes, to the iconic hikes like Half-dome or The Narrows (Zion). Heritage Hiking Club hikes 3-4x a week so “the next one” is really my answer. Heritage also hikes Zion 1x a year, Yosemite 2x a year, Havasupai – 2x a year and The Northern Lights 1x a year. I'll plan for many more overnight adventures after I retire from education.

Share a fun fact about you that most people wouldn’t know.

That I've led hikes down to Supai, Arizona (Havasupai) over 75x. And that I have many friends from the Havasupai Tribe that I have made over the years.

You can find Bill here on SocialHiker as @b_furey.

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  1. I’m very active person if I’m not at work nor on the hike I will be in the ocean kayaking or running along the beach. Or watching the surfers and learn how to surf. My most memorable hiked was San Gorgonio that was amazing the weather change in 3 seasons. And we have colleagues fought verbally and almost goes to physical good thing one of my friends interfere. I’m already bored hiking SoCal mountains looking forward to join your group to inter state adventure.

    1. Awesome, thanks for the response Claudia 🙂

      San Gorgonio is a beautiful hike. A lot of people tend to think that Southern California doesn’t get weather, but seeing San Gorgonio change through the seasons definitely disproves that! (at least a little).

      Have fun adventuring!

  2. I got back into hiking 4 years ago and I started hiking with Bill and his Heritage Hiking Club (HHC) last year. I’ll summit a long 6 Pack challenge peak in the morning, yet I end up hiking later in the day with HHC because of Bill’s enthusiasm and the fun camaraderie in the club regardless of skill level. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to lift, HHC’s back to planning advanced hikes including 6 Pack peaks. If you’re in or near OC, you must check out HHC!

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