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