TJ Jerome
TJ JeromeTJ Hiker
TJ-ice-climbAs a kid growing up on a farm in Michigan, I spent most of my time outside working on the farm, climbing trees and running through the fields with my sister and brothers. Entering the age of team sports in high school, I was a mediocre athlete. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I really became truly entrenched into the world of hiking and backpacking. While working at a fitness resort, I met and hiked with many people who were in search of a healthier lifestyle. I quickly became passionate about being a part of the transformational moments of these incredible people, and I found that in doing so, I, too healed. I lost my mother to a heart attack when she was 44, and both my sister and my uncle had heart transplants in their 20’s and 40’s. My job had given me the chance to help others where I was unable to help my own family members so long ago.

TJ-peak02Tami was one of those people. We started hiking together when she was preparing to tackle the Half Dome hike in Yosemite and wanted help with her training. Tami had never hiked over 2 hours at time. She was determined to lose the weight she needed to lose and to gain the strength, both mentally and physically, that she needed to gain, in order to reach her goal of getting to the top of Half Dome. This experience training with her gave me the spark to take my passion even higher for helping people reach their fitness goals, and we were soon training for Mt Kilimanjaro. I have since been able to be a part of helping others enjoy hiking, backpacking and trekking. We have traveled to many area’s in California, Arizona and the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as Africa, Peru.

TJ-peak01My personal goals are to continue to seek adventure on the trails, inspire and help others to follow their sense of adventure and to become a proficient mountaineer and ice climber. It wasn’t until after I reached the age of 40 when I found my passion for exploring the mountains. I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and find their passion and we hope to to create an awareness about the dangers of heart disease.

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Tami Luckie
Tami LuckieLucky Dog

My Journey to 52 Peaks

The journey towards hiking 52 mountains in a year actually began almost five years ago. I was going up the three flights of stairs at my office and had to stop to catch my breath. I was nearing forty, 60 pounds overweight and had not exercised in two decades. I had spent those twenty years working 80-90 hours a week and believing that my career defined me. I had put all my value into being professionally successful because I didn’t like who I was outside of my work.

I knew I had to change. I made perhaps the bravest decision of my life. I signed up for a week at a weight loss program. It was one of the most difficult weeks of my life, but it lit the spark. More than anything else, it introduced me to hiking. It was not love at first sight. Hiking struck a chord in me that I wasn’t yet ready to hear.

20151205_120554_resized-FB-BESTOver time, I was able to find peace with hiking. I own a small business and my business partner and I made a conscious decision that success wasn’t in living to work but in the balance found in working to live. That choice provided me with the flexibility to set a challenge goal for myself to keep me motivated towards my health goals. The Universe sent me Half-Dome.

In training for Half-Dome, everything changed. I needed an expert who could take me from hiking 5 miles to hiking 16.7 miles in a day. The Universe sent me TJ. In six months, TJ prepared me in every way to get up that mountain, including mentally overcoming the fear of climbing the cables at the dome. TJ and I met at exactly the right time in our lives and during those many miles of training the idea for hiking 52 mountains in a year emerged.

93-Tami-top-of-half-dome-celebratingI had expected to hike in order to summit the mountain. What I actually experienced on all those trails was a reawakening of my true self and the beginning of a transformation.

Standing at the top of Half-Dome, I knew there was no going back to who I was. I now believed that I had within me the possibility to do anything. I took my first step towards 52 Peaks that day. I’ve been preparing and learning about myself ever since. I fell deeply in love with hiking that day and decided that I would see the world with hiking boots and a backpack. That decision has taken me to the top of Kilimajaro, the back country of the Sierra Nevadas, the ruins of Machu Picchu and the oceanside cliffs of the Na Pali coast. I’m my best smiling self when I’m on the trail.

Tami-Rock-Scramble-CU52 Peaks is the extension of my journey towards true north. It’s my calling. In hiking, I was able to see life in an entirely new way that helped me realize a higher part of myself. More than anything else, I want to inspire others that it’s never too late and no dream is impossible. I was not a life-long athlete. I was someone who had been sitting on the couch working on a laptop for twenty years. I woke up. By standing on top of some of the most amazing summits around the world, I hope to ring that bell for someone else.

In addition to my story above, TJ and I hope to do this trip to raise awareness for heart disease. I lost my father to a sudden heart attack on Feb 16th, 2016. I do this trip in honor of his memory and his spirit. My dad was generous of heart and always helping others. By promoting heart health and wellness, my sincerest hope is that I can find purpose in this loss by helping others. Wake up tomorrow, put on your boots, and give the world your best. My dad, Billy Luckie, would expect nothing less. Namaste.