To Brooke on his birthday 2009
You have been the best of friends, an indomitable traveling companion and stimulating colleague through the years. You are even dearer now as you work your way back to health and mobility. Scores of people rejoice at every step forward, not the least of them me.
I’m thankful for the many hours and miles we have enjoyed together.
Where all have we been together? First of all there have been the ski tours and hikes in the Wasatch, including those special tours from Little Water Peak over the ridge to the top of that wonderful powder run down what Roger and Jane call Nord’s Hill. Maybird, Gobbler’s Knob, Red Pine, White Pine. Then the treks to the Wind Rivers including one to the beautiful and remote Cook Lakes from which we climbed a pass to the northwest and wandered back to Elkhart Park. The one where we climbed Fremont and your sister Lisa injured herself. And then the dramatic and stormy stay at the high camp above the New Fork Lakes where you and I and Ann hunkered in one tent and, earlier on, we had a long vexing struggle with a plugged up camp stove.
We went with Bill and Kip and Bob Plummer up in the North Cascades on an attempt to climb Glacier Peak. We never even saw it and endured hours and hours of rain. On the way out we drank champagne that Bob had cached at a hot spring and limped into the parking lot sodden and footsore. We saw Viet Nam before it started to boom and were baffled by the quickness with which the fell American presence there had seemingly been forgotten. We went to Yunnan, via Guilin, visited that “Shangri-la” town near the Tibet border, heard Tang dynasty music and met a Nature Conservancy guy in Kunming who inquired about the activity of Louise Liston, Garfield County commissioner. Great trip to Kashgar on that highway along the southern edge of the Takla Makan desert – the Magao Caves. We stayed in that wonderful converted farmhouse near Pitiglano in Tuscany. Jon, Lise and and I played music and we ate and drank well with Jon and Cristina Lindsay, Lise Brunhart, David Wertz. It’s a good part of the world.
We need to add to these geographical adventures our strenuous intellectual voyage through super ITW – nearly two years of reading, thinking, learning and interacting with one another and with students. It was fun. It was laborious. I loved it.
We skied the Selkirks from a hut we reached by helicopter along with Chauncy and Emily, Kip Wallace and Howie Garber. Sang to a guitar, ate well, wore ourselves out climbing and skiing.
And then there was Venezuela with the trekking along the crest of the northern extreme of the Andes. Tough going for me, but even El Viejo de los Andes made it. We saw condors and heard the story of the deeply depressed porter (or was he a donkey driver) who had taken up with young girl – likened to a man looking down a cliff being tempted to jump – who had been put in prison and was bailed out by his mother who had to sell the family land to get him out. Gorgeous country full of Easter revelers.
At the top of the Mèrida Tram that goes up to Pico Bolivar
(was that the name of the mountain?)
There have been wonderful times around Torrey working out from your and Peggy’s house. You’ve given much happiness with your generosity in the enjoyment of that place.
Can’t begin to count those times – the one where we both skied on Boulder Mountain and hiked to the Great Panel in Horse Canyon. The hike out to the Red Breaks with its exceptionally important conversation. The attempt to climb a peak in the Henrys where we met snow banks. Repairing and painting the deck. Trying to seal the west end off from the woodpeckers.
There was the trip down Grand Gulch and out Bullet Canyon. The three weeks running the Colorado from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. … We’ll think of more.
As good as these places and these exertions have been, the best part has always been the companionship and the conversation. I love to hike, I think, because of the opportunities to talk with surrounding beauty as the only distraction.
We talked last summer about going to Timbuktu. Let’s do it.
The past has been great, the present is hard, but there is a future and I intend to share it with you.
Love from your friend,