POWNAL — Steven Sinclair and Shivam Kumar began to feel the weight of their task just minutes after they began their snowy, half-hour trek Friday morning to the top of Bradbury Mountain.

Slush fell in clumps from tree limbs onto the forest floor, which was covered in leaves and mud. In minutes, the Edward Little High School juniors were cold and wet.

And the 10-pound stone in Sinclair’s pack — engraved with the initials of Lewiston native Daniel Cunningham, a 2003 casualty of the war in Iraq — seemed to grow.

“It feels heavier,” Sinclair said, taking it out of his pack and holding it in his hands before handing it to Kumar. Kumar groaned about missing culinary class and his increasingly cold and wet feet.

“I don’t even own boots,” he grumbled.

He wasn’t alone. About 100 teens from the Auburn school made the climb despite the cold and wet weather.

It was supposed to be uncomfortable, said Jared Golden, who helped organize the hike for the Summit Project.

Begun by Marine Corps Maj. David Cote, a Maine native, the project has been working with a variety of groups to remind people of the Maine service members who have died since 9/11. They have engraved their names on stones and are carrying those stones to Maine summits.

On Memorial Day, Cote led a group to a summit near Mount Katahdin. Since then, people have been taking the stones to other peaks around Maine, including Bridgton’s Pleasant Mountain.

Friday was EL students’ turn. They arrived at Bradbury Mountain State Park on three buses and gathered in groups of two or three to a stone.

Friday morning’s snow was “perfect,” said Golden, a veteran who served with the Marines in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “People don’t think a lot about the general hardships and struggles that people go through when they’re serving in the military. Being outdoors in 40-degree temperatures is fine for three or four or five hours.”

Imagine doing it nonstop for months, Golden said.

It’s something Sinclair and Kumar both considered.

“When they’re fighting for us in war, they have to go through a lot more than that. It makes us feel a little bit for them,” Sinclair said.

The hike was only a piece of the work, though.

Prior to the hike, most of the teens had read about their assigned soldiers or Marines. At the summit, they gathered in a circle and, one by one, they talked a bit about the person engraved on each rock.

“To me, it’s the most important part of the Summit Project, stepping forward to kind of communally share what you’ve learned about,” Golden said.

The teens talked about their person’s favorite places, what they liked when they were high school students and how they died.

Again and again, they ended with the words, “He will be missed.”

When Sinclair’s turn came, he talked about Cunningham.

“He was an Army specialist,” Sinclair said. “He was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Iraq. He was from Lewiston, Maine. And the rock was retrieved by his mom from one of his favorite places he used to visit, Oxford Plains Speedway.

“He will be missed,” he said.

They followed the circle with a moment of silence and photos before they walked back down the trail. The project’s responsibilities will go on, though. Each student plans to write a letter to the family of a fallen service member.

The aim is to teach people about war’s costs while keeping the memories of individual service members alive.

“It’s an important way for people to stop and consider the losses,” Golden said. “They’re more than just a number. We’ve lost 5,000 in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is personalizing it for people who otherwise might not come face to face with what it means to lose a life overseas.

Sinclair and Kumar said they learned the project’s lessons.

“I will always remember this and how I climbed my first mountain just to remember him,” Kumar said.

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