Sunday, July 29, 2012

Five Years

Seeing each other just once a year, 

it is surprisingly easy to pick up where we left off.

Most of us met by the tragic circumstances that annually brings us together.

The traditional shoe shot!

Exactly five years ago today on a similar hot summer day; young, vibrant and handsome Parker had a horrible accident...causing the Bradford family's world to come crashing down around them. They unselfishly chose to share the marking of this day with us.

As we gather together each year, it seems our numbers increase.

Dean likes to tease Miss Mary, and she pretends to hate it! It's a game they play...but she was more than happy for a piggy-back ride for a bit.

The teenage boys hiking in front of us made sure they didn't let us know about the dead rattlesnake on the trail, they wanted to make sure I FREAKED out appropriately! It worked!

Another little hiker whose small legs need a rest. This was a very steep incline which must adults struggled with. Seems all those Cross-Fit sessions are paying off honey!

I look forward to seeing Sharlee every year, watching Devin grow taller every 365 days. This year we were able to meet her hubby.

Snack trading time!

The Lehnardt boys are always up for a smile. Mom Michelle the photographer has them trained so well. Now if only Chet would do the same.

Ah, a natural smile from the hubby for the camera...a rarity to say the least!

My friend Michelle whom I met on this hike just two years ago. I can't imagine my life without her! Michelle's photography inspires me, as does her love of family and joy in motherhood. If you don't read her blog you should...and then you'll want to be one of her kids.

Dean and Gabe wrestling...not sure who is winning!

The entire group at the top. We are all connected to Parker in our own way. 

The Bradford family sans Parker plus a friend.

I snapped this photo of Julie in the exact location her husband proposed to her. We met on a previous Parker hike a few years ago shortly after she lost her son Brigham. This year, I notice a little more spring in her step and a lot more joy in her eyes. I wonder if people say the same about me?

Julie's family are skiers too, including daughter Emily. I loved chatting and getting to know Emily. She is an adorable, energetic fifteen year-old girl who is completely passionate about skiing...reminds of someone I know.

The men show us their muscles in the mountains

and how to climb lift poles.

Yes Melissa looks this beautiful all the time even after hiking on a hot summer day. But it is her beautiful soul that envelopes me. Her loss is my loss, and her heart aches for her child just as mine does. I asked her what five years feels like. She describes this period as the beginning of a new book...containing unwritten chapters filled with joy and  potential.

On the way down, we make our way over to the waterfall...

for a refreshing stop to play in the frigid falling water.

Fresh from running underneath the waterfall, Claire really wants to hug her mom...but is resisting.

Chet running through.

Fifteen year old boys sneaking up on manhood quickly...and a lurker in the background.

I love how the boys take care of their Mary.

Gabe was literally right on Dean's heels for most of the hike. I started calling him the human Izzy, because that's exactly what she does.

Another Mary moment from a big brother...isn't she a lucky girl!

At the end of the day, that's what this hike is all about...time spent with family and friends. Remembering those special people whose lives are etched in our past our present and our future. 


  1. Such wonderful friends brought together through such hard times. I am giving you a great big hug. You don't know how much your friendship means to me. How you make me a better mom, a better person. I love all of your smiles. Big hugs!

  2. Yes, Lisa, We do see a little more spring in your step and a bit more sparkle in your eyes! and it is a GOOD THING!! What a wonderful way to connect and heal, families united.

  3. This seems like such a beautiful sad day - but you know all about beautiful sad and I commend you for managing so well the beautiful with the sad. I'm so SO pleased that you have friends with whom you don't have to explain, or when you do, they nod and know.

  4. That picture of Michelle and Erik holding got me. These connections are so cherished. xoxo