July 2015

Davids request was that our family scatter his ashes around Loch Vale Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Estes Park Colorado. Join us as we fulfill the "Loch Vale Promise"

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2, 2015

Various levels of soreness are reported from all- personally Im thrilled my training has paid off- no soreness. In honor of Davids style of blogging- here are my reflections from the week in no order of importance:

1. There is no doubt that the spirit of David Oliver lies in the Rocky Mountains! We all felt it and signs were everywhere! From clouds, to animals, to gusts of wind signs were everywhere.
2. As he hoped- stories and laughter were everywhere- and yes a few tears as well.
3. We are so lucky that we had such amazing friends to make this journey- investing time and money and even their health to honor the Loch Vale Promise. David was so loved.
4. David would have loved this event! He would have laughed at the parade and cherished the stories. He would have been so proud of those who did not think they could make it- and the fact that 24 of us- including 2 year old Ollie on Andrew and Justins back, and unfit out of shape me all made it!
5. There is no doubt it took a village to honor all of Davids Exit strategy! From the caregiving to assure his HOPE to the hiking- it took all of us working together to make it happen- he is proud!
6. Mike said it best- this time was about honoring a memory- and beginning to look forward. Exit strategy complete- Re-entry now the challenge!

Thanks to all!

August 1, 2015 The Hike!

Its a perfect day! No chance of rain! Up and out of the house the Mike Oliver family are the first and waste no time setting off! They lead the pack and beat us all. The rest of the house leave at 6:00 am and hit the trail at around 7:40. Kevin and Angie were delayed a bit and make up the rear of the trail. I can pretty much only speak about my journey, supported by Steve, Susan, Ben and Denise. I am thrilled to make it to Alberta Falls by 8am- excellent time for me as I really want to pace myself! Step by step I watch so as not to trip and hurt an ankle- something I am sadly know for! My legs and arms hold out well but my breathing is troublesome from Alberta Falls on. I try to stay patient and vigilant- steady goes. Everyone is so patient with me- I realize when we are another mile up and its 9am that we will make it in time. With rest stops along the way I am so pleased that my only issue is air. I also experience sudden onsets of strong emotion a couple of times but Steve and Susan hold onto me and Denise as all good social workers do is prepared with kleenex. The joy of making it is overwhelming! We find John and Peggy as well as Carol and Cathy sitting right at the water as we head to Davids famous rock that faces the middle of the lake. The view is spectacular and reuniting with everyone slowly is really fun. Hearing many tales of everyones journey- easy and difficult is fun. Matt, Justin and Becky make it all the way to Sky Pond- a place David always encouraged and talked about although only visiting once. Hearing the tale of them going up the waterfall and sprinkling ashes to make sure David made it another time is both amazing and funny. Hearing the tales of those who tried to make it that far but got smart and did not climb the waterfall was also interesting! One of my personal favorite stories was a photo Matt showed me. He looked to the clouds to find that there was a cloud formation that looked just like GR- for General! I agreed he had been given a very special gift!

Steve leads a beautiful tribute- sharing Haikus from David’s trip in 2007 and a special poem. Of note is that during his talk the wind picks up dramatically- yes I believe we were being sent a message. Matt also reported a little chipmunk beside him observing the event. Afterwards we divide and each person has their moment with their portion of ashes.  I catch Ollie and Jessica putting his share into the lake- a very sweet and touching scene.  Many say goodbye on the mountain as they leave before me- knowing Im sure they will make it long before me! Jess Andrew Justin Becky Tina and I head out together- and there is no doubt I would not have made the last half mile without them! Again its not the body its the air that gets me at the end with one last half mile uphill climb to Bear Lake!

We quickly catch Angie and Kevin and then Brad and Emily find us as they left a slower Carol, CAthy and Abbey (who had a spill). As we were all just about at the Mills Lake intersection I look up and 5 ft away off the left of the trail is a BEAR! Tina yells dont run- I say make noise and start MIZ cheer. Justin stops to take a photo- as Andrew hears Jessica runs back to the bear and Tina and I stop Andrew from taking Ollie on his back to the BEAR!  The Bear behind me now crosses the trail in front of Jessica and heads to the Mills Lake trail. We believe the hair makes it a grizzly! Justin got a photo we are awaiting it anxiously! We then tell everyone we pass about it warning them!

We eventually loose track of Brad and Emily as well as Kevin and Angie. All report in and make it down fine. The record surely goes to Mikes family again- Michelle reporting they made it in an hour- personally I think they are totally crazy! They head out for Missouri. Our gang after encouraging and nearly dragging me to the end head home to clean up and load before Andrew Jess Ollie Justin and Becky head to Denver. Andrew and Jess drop them off and they drive all night with our little man hitting home in the am.

The Brad Oliver family, Tina, and I enjoy the evening sharing events of the day and relaxing and recovering! After a good nights sleep they will head out early and Tina and I will close up and head to the airport.

NOTE: PHOTOS will be posted on www.dbocancerjourney.blogspot.com as soon as they are combined and edited

July 31,2015

NOTE: Sorry for the lack of photos- my airplane wi-fi would not load!

Everyone but Tina and I head to the Park for a day of climbing and exploring then to Estes. Debbie and Tina stay back to relax before the big hike and prepare for the BBQ tonight. Among our tasks is the preparation of special things for the hike. We divide up ashes, a specially designed water bottle, a trip map from one of Davids journals, and finally Davids favorite hiking snack a snickers bar!

The gang has a great time in the park. The construction frustrations continue as it takes us 2 hours to go into Estes and pick up pies and BBQ! Meanwhile Mikes car makes the 2:10 construction pilot car but Andrew and gang are delayed and miss it by 5 minutes meaning they wait 50 minutes! Yep- only get through once per hour no matter what! They have raised the road 2 feet since we started and according to our construction flagman they have another 8 feet to go! That should make our driveway even more interesting. Glad today is our last day of delays- they stop over the weekend.

Steve, Susan, and Ben Zweig all arrive- Steve in a rental car like mine. Their sighs of relief mirror mine after getting up the drive! Kevin and Angie and the boys also experience the driveway fun but at least their SUV is easier- and Denise arrives during bread breaking looking terrified. Nope- I did not exaggerate- that driveway is hazardous! We have a great evening of fellowship and a pre-hike meeting is held so all are aware of the plan- meet at 7:30- hike at your own pace- service begins at 11:30.

Friday, July 31, 2015

July 30, 2015

Mike and Michelle await Matts arrival at the Glen Haven Post Office while Megan, Becky, Justin, Andrew, Jessica, Ollie and I set off to hike to “The Pond” from the Fern Lake Trailhead in Mora
ine Park. Our two hour 3.4 mile hike is good training for The Loch as its longer, rocky, but low elevation. The trail runs along a beautiful stream and ends at a large part of the stream that runs under the river. Hot and tired hikers sit and enjoy the cool breeze and sounds of rushing water. We make the hike back realizing that its only half as long as Saturdays hike and only 20% of the elevation gain. After the hike we head to Sprague Lake picnic grounds and devour our picnic lunch of chicken wraps. Our hike taught us that The Loch will be a 4-5 hour adventure to the top, we need ALOT more than one bottle of water, and it will be important to let everyone know that its a “everyone for themselves” hike and then set a “time” for the formal ashes spreading for those who make it- it simply will not work to try and stay together with 24 people. I will also request that if you cant make it that you take your own special time to remember David and scatter the ashes along the way- we simply cant assure all the ashes will make it.

Once we arrive back at the house we have a great time relaxing. Mike grills an amazing dinner of chicken and asparagus. Matt has to be awakened just in time to join us and help consume the amazing meal. While watching the beautiful moon rise over the mountain we cook smores and some enjoy the hot tub. I cant help but think about how much David would have enjoyed this day and evening- and believe that indeed he was watching from somewhere, looking down, thankful for the love and fellowship shared- smiling.
Fearless Justin, Becky,Tina,Andrew and Megan climb a boulder

Becky and Megan soak their feet in The Pond

Jess Andrew and Ollie hear the river roar

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 29, 2015

Remembering the construction schedule we get up and ready to leave the house at 9 am so as not to wait at the stop for long- excited we head down the driveway to discover a flagman at the end of the driveway! Additionally  they are behind as a medical emergency has occurred messing the entire process up. Finally after 15 minutes we are allowed to go and set off for the Wild Basin trail head for a long hike to Calypso cascade falls- a place I had never been. When we arrive we discover there is not a single place to park within 2 miles! We give up and take our picnic lunch to nearby Mt Meeker picnic area instead. Ollie finally succeeds in peeing on a tree to much applause. We then head to the visitors center at Beaver Meadows. On the way we are stopped by Mule deer playing in a stream in the middle of Estes Park. After photos we decide to take the tram up Prospect Mountain. We had a great time and enjoyed the view and I enjoyed telling Davids stories about The Craigs and how we saw bears come out of the pool house once. Jessica has to leave to go pick up Andrew at the airport so we take Ollie and head up Trail Ridge Road. He is asleep before we even get to the park and sleeps for the entire ride and most of the grocery store visit! Along the way we see marmots, Elk, deer, and Big Horn Sheep. When we get back to the house we find Mike, Michelle, and Megan waiting and exploring. We set up and work at dinner- true teamwork- only to find the grand grill outside has no propane! So skillet burgers it was. During dinner we see a couple of deer in the back and laugh and tell stories. Jess and Andrew arrive to Ollies delight and he tells them all about the big bathtub and the fire. Another amazing day- filled with Davids smiles and laughs- so glad to watch more and more arrive each day! Tomorrow we see Matt in the morning.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28. 2015

We started for town this morning before Becky and Justin were due to arrive and discovered we would be waiting 55 minutes before they let people through with the construction- so we proceeded to turn around and head back up our daring driveway and just relax at home for the morning. Once the new crew arrived and we had lunch we headed to Bear Lake (.8 flat) to hike and then up to Nymph lake (1.1 RT elevation gain 245). It was a good practice hike.  We headed back to the house for dinner, smores over a deck fire, and hot tub.

July 27, 2015

We all slept very well- so quiet so peaceful. We awake and need jackets outside its so cool- then the sun pops up over the mountain and we warm right up. After breakfast on the deck we head to Sprague Lake for a warm up hike around and a picnic. We have trouble getting a very tired little man to sleep so come back to our vacation home and get him to sleep. We learn on the way from Glen Haven that they let traffic go at 5 minutes after every hour. We are there 30 minutes early so turn around and head to the famous Glen Haven store, buy some refreshments including cinnamon rolls and wait to get through. Once traffic is let go its much quicker than the other direction. Lucky this will not be an issue on Saturday!

After an amazing dinner on our patio we set out for town to get a few more things. We go to a hiking store and I spy a set of junior hiking poles. I immediately remember David and I seeing a small boy at Bear Lake with them last year and David and I both cried thinking of Ollie impersonating grandpa. I could not refuse and Ollie thinks hes now king of the mountain.

We took the poles to Lilly lake so he could “hike”. On the way we saw and Elk visiting a hotel parking lot- as you can imagine Ollie loved it as well. The temp was falling and sun setting so a brief outing at Lilly lake and we set out for home before it was too dark. After Ollie went to sleep we enjoyed the hot tub under the stars. Another magical day.