Local father climbs Mt. Elbert with son with autism

Belmont County

MARTINS FERRY, OHIO (WTRF)- This summer has been a road trip for the books for Mike Procter and his son Michael. The pair had planned to hike the 2 highest peaks in the lower 48 states of the U.S. But the pandemic put a spin on their trip. And the two decided to play it safe and travel to the less populated areas, but the journey to this point hasn’t been easy. 

Twelve years ago, Mike Proctor received what he calls his greatest gift, his son, Michael. And raising Michael has been quite the journey. At birth, the twelve-year-old was diagnosed with autism and was found to be non-verbal. But Procter refuses to treat his son different than any other kid. Which is why Proctor has taken Michael to see some of the world’s greatest wonders.  

“On the way out to Mt. Albert, we stopped at Mammoth Cave and we enjoyed the cave and trails. After that, we went to Arkansas and we mined for diamonds and we actually found one which I have over on my desk, it’s a small one, a quarter of a carat, but it was awesome to find it,” said Mike Proctor, a Martin’s Ferry Resident.  

Michael has been able to tackle life’s obstacles, including 14,433 feet up Mt. Elbert in Colorado.  

“So we had to take extra days to acclimate so instead of going from five thousand to base of ten thousand feet, we had to go to seven thousand feet for a day, and then we went to nine thousand feet, and then we went to ten thousand feet for two days and then finally we went to the summit,” said Proctor.  

Procter says training for these big climbs is key and is done daily. 

“So I actually got rid of my car and we walk everywhere now. Rain, snow, cold, hot, we get out and we walk. We try to walk four to five miles a day,” said Proctor.  

Procter wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else. 

“Without him, I don’t know where I would be, he’s my only kid. He’s my best friend. We do everything together,” said Proctor.  

Proctor says he would one day like to take Michael to the Swiss Alps and with enough training he believes his son can do anything. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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