Fund raising has begun for the Gene and Sue Fritsche Scholarship Fund with the start of GeoTrek III, a 134.8-mile hike around the five San Fernando Valley mountain ranges.
Retired CSUN Geology Emeritus Professor A. Eugene Fritsche,71, is hiking his way through five mountain ranges to raise money for his scholarship for geology students.
Fritsche wanted to help out Geology students after he retired in 2000, as well as help build up the scholarship funds available for them. The idea of GeoTrek came to him a few years after he retired with the first trek of the mountains from Griffith Park to Oxnard, a 75-mile hike in 2004.
Fritsche wanted to “take a geology-oriented hike of significant length” so alumni could go with him and possible give money to the scholarship fund.
“It was a way to get students out into the field, so it was a natural process to hike,” Fritsche said.
The hike through the San Fernando Mountains will take a total of 12 days, with a day off in-between to rest. The first day of the hike begins on May 12 and end on June 14 at the Rocky Peak area of the Santa Susana Mountains.
They started at the Southern Verdugo Mountains south of Interstate 210 and La Tuna Canyon Road, ending at the trailhead on the south side of Zoo Drive near Griffith Park.
On most days, Fritsche and his wife Sue, 71, hike alone, but on the first day they were joined by CSUN professors Doug Yule and Jorge Vazquez of the Department of Geological Sciences.
“The thing about Dr. Fritsche is that he loves looking at rocks and hiking,” Yule said. “He likes to be with his friends and family (so) this a way to do both.”
The first day took a total of six hours with an hour for lunch. Yule said that they had the trail to themselves and there were plenty of rocks at which to look. Yule said every rock tells a story, so it was interesting to talk about them.
This summer Fritsche is expected to raise between $7,000 to $8,000. Most donations come from alumni and faculty. This year, the largest pledge has been $1,000. Most pledges are for the overall hike, though some were for $1 per mile that is hiked, Fritsche said.
The longest part of the total hike was 13.5 miles, the Santa Monica Mountains, from Tarzana to Calabasas. This hike took about eight and a half hours.
“Someone who has never hiked before woudn’t be able to this,” Fritsche said as to the long distances he is hiking.
Fritsche and his wife hike on a pretty regular basis. Though Fritsche said he does not have a favorite place, the most interesting for Fritsche are those with canyons and streams.
Fritsche has set up a Web site through the Department of Geology Sciences, which is updated with photos of every hike and information on how to donate money for the scholarship fund.
Students are eligible for the Gene and Sue Fritsche Scholarship must first be a geology student with 2.5 GPA or better, show they have financial need and evidence of contributions to the department or the profession. The scholarship is either given to one student for $1,000 or to two students for $500 each. Fritsche said the students can use the money for whatever they need, such as research and tuition.
Fritsche said he has meet students who have received the scholarship and that they are grateful for the show. Since 2004 Fritsche has raised almost $25,000 for scholarships.