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puzzle pieces

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just one more time......

Two months ago I hiked up to a mountain lake. 
There are 2 paths you can take to get there....
The "Easy Trail" and The "Difficult".

I have always like the Difficult route.


It's full of narrow walkways, 
a wooden/rock stairway, trickling springs that flow over the trail in places....
it's definitely the more beautiful of the 2 paths.



The scenery as you climb is magnificent.
It takes your breath away, and not just because of the steep ascent.


On this particular hike, I was followed on the Difficult route
 ~(and sometimes passed)~ 
by 2 elderly people. 
One walked with  2 canes, the other with a considerable limp. 
I wanted to turn at times and offer my assistance across the streams of water and slippery rocks- 
but something stopped me.
I was truly amazed by this seemingly persistent couple.


When I finally arrived at this particular lake ~ I stopped beside it and took (of course),
countless picture from every angle I could of everything I could see.

I turned to find the same couple resting on a bench, just watching everything going on around them.
They seemed quiet yet happy, and I couldn't help but take a few steps towards them and make some remark of how beautiful it all was.

This began an incredible conversation. One I won't soon forget.



To sum up the heart of our chat,
they had been married for 50+ years and had hiked up to this lake every year they'd been together.
And they didn't just come in the fairer months of the summer.
Winter was just as beautiful they said.

And then the woman stated, 
"This will be our last climb here. 
We have gotten to the point where it's to difficult for us to make this journey like we have been. 
But we wanted to take it just one more time. 
Today."


I tried to hide the tears from my eyes.

Something hit me in that moment. 
My imagination created the past 50 years of this couple, 
coming together and walking this trail year after year.
Summer or winter- they came.
Year after year- through whatever the season, they hiked the trail to this spot.

And there I was, 
actually sharing their moment with them surrounded by incredible beauty they were seeing for the last time.
I felt humbled. And honored.
And wanted to let them be.

But they were ever so gracious and continued to chat, asking me questions and sharing information about this mountain and its trails.
I felt so blessed to be part of their moment.
~~~~~~~

I have hiked this trail several times over the years.
Never in the winter.
Although I now plan to during this one.

For some reason their story touched me in a way I can't explain.
Maybe it was their commitment to the trail and mountain.
~Their commitment to one another.~
Their persistence that I saw while they struggled up the trail.
Their love for a place I love.

I'm not sure just quite what it is.

I do know that I will never think of this trail in quite the same way.
Their life has somehow been etched into my heart through all the beauty which lies up there.

I just wish and hope, that the next time I go....maybe, 
they will have decided they were able to take that trail just one more time.


~~~~~

48 comments:

Pat Tillett said...

Wow! What a fantastic story and post. I have to admit that I got a little choked up reading it. What a great thing that you were there at the same time they were.

Gerreke said...

Wow what a view!!!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That lake is beautiful. How neat to meet the couple. Once I was hiking very steep terrain (pre kids) and was passed by someone who was extremely pregnant. I told my husband - don't even think about making me hike something like this while preggo! LOL!

Buttons said...

Way to make a girl cry so early in the morning. I hope to be doing that with My Hero but the hike in the bush hand and hand.
Your photos are absolutely beautiful I would be doing that one everyday.
You are a very special person Dawn and I am sure that couple will never forget you either.
Still tears. Darn what a way to start the day Happy yet a sadness in my heart knowing that is their last time.
Thank you for sharing this very moving story. B

Joe said...

Great post. It's so easy to take the things we can easily do today for granted.

roobo69 said...

What a beautiful account. I'm finding myself more and more emotional about things like this whenever I experience them. "Their commitment to each other" made a particular impact - we see so little commitment in the world today that it is heart warming when we come across real love, real commitment like this. Thanks for sharing this, Dawn.

ladyfi said...

What stunning shots!

I do hope the couple will at least be able to make the easy hike! Such a moving story.

Mike said...

Great pictures and beautiful story Dawn! That would be so cool if you saw them again. If not, they gave you some nice memories to enjoy.

Leah J. Utas said...

What a beautiful story, Dawn.

Anne said...

Lovely photos! What a great story:)
~Anne

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

A lovely post about how nature and our lives are wonderfully intermingled. The blue water is incredible. :)

Changes in the wind said...

Oh my what a wonderful experience to have had. The connection of beauty, endurance, love, faith and hope all rolled into one. I am so glad that you met them and that you will always think of them when you hike this...that will let them live forever through you and who knows maybe some day far away when you are a old woman you will meet a person on this path and will make a impact on them the same way and then they will always think of you when they climb this wonderful area.

TexWisGirl said...

really touching.

sage said...

I love those high mountain lakes and the views from the peaks--there are lakes here but no high mountains :(

Wonderful story!

Tricia @ Bluff Area Daily said...

Oh what a wonderful & lifting story, Dawn! I can certainly understand what you mean about how their story & seeing them on the trail 'just one more time' touched you! God bless & I do hope they get to walk it again! God bless them both, too! =)

Tricia @ Bluff Area Daily said...

I was so engrossed in your story that the scenery completely slipped my mind & I forgot to add that I love the color of that water, the railing, that bench, & all the rock... so very beautiful! LoL! =)

Leenie said...

It does look like a difficult trail, even with the steps and rails left by others. But that's the one you choose and you enjoy the hike because you can see the awesome beauty and you meet such wonderful people along the way. We find what we look for.....

Okay, enough greeting card sentiment (although I believe it's true) THANKS for the views of your hike! Your photos are superb.

Meg said...

Wow, what a wonderful story. It brought tears to my eyes too! How sweet that you got to share it with them... I hope they will be there again next year too!

Miz.November said...

Thanks, Dawn. You just made me cry. That is so beautiful. It's hard for me to imagine that kind of mutual love for something. My husband and I share some of the same interests, but the longer we are together, it seems like the harder it is to really bond over something. That sort of dedication is heartwarming.

Flora said...

Lovely story!!

Nat said...

Dawn, this is such a beautiful post. How sad but lovely.... I too hope the old couple will make another hike along that route next year.

Saz said...

What a beautiful story Dawn... It
brought a tear to my eye. <3

Such gorgeous shots to go with it too.

Jack said...

What a story, Dawn. The idea of consciously doing anything for the last time is a Big Concept for me. I'm getting older, but so far I can do anything I want to do or that I was once able to do. (Sure, I have cut out skiing, but I never liked it any way.) But, rationally I know that sometime I will start being unable to do some things. I just don't know what or when. Being in this couple's shoes, and knowingly doing for the last time something they love doing, is a profound moment. Thanks for your very sensitive telling of this thought-provoking take.

Peter said...

An inspiring story and a sensational place to hike up to! Thanks for this post.

Out on the prairie said...

what a lovely story, it warmed my heart as it did yours.

Inger said...

Both the beauty of the place and the way you told the story of meeting this couple and sharing that moment with them, touched me deeply.

Randy said...

Great post and those photos are just amazing.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

I have a little lump in my throat. What a beautiful couple and a beautiful moment you experienced with them. I hope you see them on that trail again.

missing moments said...

Beautiful beautiful story. Truly touching! Your photos are gorgeous as well.

spindrift,me said...

That's just beautiful, Dawn. Thank you for sharing this lovely experience. ;o)

darlin said...

Wow, what a touching experience. I can't even imagine being with somebody that long, well it's too late now at my age. The couple sound like what I've always wanted. Someone who shares the same interests, loves unconditionally and is committed to a relationship. How amazing that you got to spend some of their precious time chatting with them, how very special. I can totally understand how the trail will never be the same for you, you've been given a piece of real history... and what a gift that is.

Take care Dawn, have a wonderful weekend!

Allison said...

What a beautiful story that touches my heart, Dawn. This makes life worth living, yes?

heyBJK said...

Inspiring story from a great couple! Beautiful scenery, too!

Amish Stories said...

Once again really beautiful images along with a message that makes you think. I'm sure you folks in Canada are experiencing winter already, but what a pretty and wide open country it is. Richard

Country Mouse Studio said...

Beautiful story and photos. How wonderful to find someone who shares your passion

bon bon said...

what an amazing couple and your images are breathtaking. you didn't happen to take their photo, did you? it would've been nice to capture and send to them to remember their final trip.

also, i want to thank you for the christmas card! i was delighted that you included some of your photos! i'm honored to have a dawn original! xo!

Debbie said...

a difficult story for me to read today....

a tear and a smile...my mom and dad were married for 56 years.

you are such a dear friend and a kind soul. thanks for keeping in touch with me.

Rick said...

Oh how I miss hikes like that ! Gorgeous scenery, but the story was even better. Amazing the people you can meet in the remotest places and the fascinating stories they have. Glad you shared, and will be looking forward to seeing your winter photos of this beautiful place.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

This trail is beautiful!!! The couples story is precious...this makes life wonderful (to hear these stories)

EG Wow said...

How fortunate you were there when they were! It's wonderful how they touched you so deeply. :)

mountain mama said...

that is a very touching story...sounds like you met two kindred spirits! :)

Pam said...

Wheres my tissue box when I need it! Loved your story and awesome photos, Dawn.
Have a great day!
Hugs, Pam

Navigating Northward said...

What a neat experience to talk to those people ... I find it's never a waste of time to visit with older people. On another note, a guy I work with takes a photo of his kids beside a mountain lake that they hike up to every year.

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

A wonderful story ...

Amish Stories said...

I had to make a pit stop at your blog to look at these really nice images again. Richard

John McElveen said...

THIS- is why I relish coming here!

Much Love,

John

Saun said...

What a beautiful story brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing

Saun

Alan said...

Inspiring story, very eloquently recounted, Dawn.