OLD FRIENDS, NEW TRAILS

Roommates reunite at Glacier National Park

Daniel Oates ’09 MAc ’10, Isaiah Cooper ’09, Tyler Mann ’09 and Aaron Freeman ’08

(Left to right): Daniel Oates ’09 MAc ’10 of Fuquay Varina, Isaiah Cooper ’09 of Durham, Tyler Mann ’09 of Jacksonville and Aaron Freeman ’08 of Alpharetta, Ga.

Four former roommates hit the trails of Glacier National Park in northern Montana last summer with backpacks and memories of WCU for a hiking adventure. Daniel Oates ’09 MAc ’10, Isaiah Cooper ’09, Tyler Mann ’09 and Aaron Freeman ’08 were good friends while living together in Central Drive Residence Hall on campus, but after graduation they moved to different cities to start careers. Several years passed with few opportunities to see one another. Then Mann initiated the idea for the roommates’ reunion and the lure of a trail adventure took hold. After weeks of planning, Oates and Cooper flew from Raleigh to the Atlanta airport, where Freeman met them. The three continued on to Salt Lake City, Utah, and were joined by Mann for the final leg of the trip to Montana. During their seven-day adventure, they visited Cobalt Lake, Hidden Lake, Apikuni Falls, Poia Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel, spending their final day together on the Highline Trail. “As often happens after college, friends and roommates lose touch, move on, and relationships fade, but we decided that wouldn’t be the case for us. We wanted to plan something big,” said Oates. “Being former roommates, there wasn’t much that we didn’t know about one another. Nevertheless, the trip created a bond that we didn’t imagine.”