It was equal parts nostalgia and love for the great outdoors that led Tom Cromer and his friend, Roger Adams, to Mount Moran, a mountain in Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming, during the summer of 2016.

Tom, a semi-retired engineer, and his wife of 30 years, Chris, consulted a financial planner to prepare them for a retirement filled with the best of both worlds. So when Adams and Cromer planned their next hiking trip they decided to hire a guide. “Because I prepared for retirement, I could afford one,” Cromer said.

Fifty years ago Cromer climbed Grand Teton, which has an elevation of 13,777 feet. Mount Moran still offered a challenge but has a slightly lower elevation at 12,605.

“It’s a wonderful peak, but it is not as frequently climbed,” Cromer said. Six months prior to the climb, Cromer trained by walking on the StairMaster daily and hiking 10 to 15 miles weekly.

The trio embarked on a three-day adventure where they canoed across a lake, hiked and climbed thousands of vertical feet daily. At one point Cromer fell behind and came within eyesight of a black bear, who thankfully showed little interest in him. They camped overnight and arose at first light each day. The last 2,000 feet involved some intense rock climbing and steep hiking. The trio moved swiftly on the trip down to outrun an approaching thunderstorm. Through thoughtful planning, the Cromers are able to enjoy a life of travel, camping and family time.

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