When I remember my Dad, there are so many amazing things about him that it's hard to choose a favorite. But mostly, when I think about him, I picture him standing on a mountain top overlooking the scenery with an enormous quietude.
I'm not sure where his love of mountains began, but my Aunts and Uncles often told stories of how he'd go off into the small woods around the farm to watch the birds on the flat South Dakota prairies where he grew up. From South Dakota, he moved to Princeton, NJ where he achieved his PhD in chemistry and married my Mom. From there they moved to around the eastern U.S. based on what ever job he had at the time. In the early 1960s, both my parents took up rock climbing ~ taking weeklong courses in the rocky hills of Wisconsin. Then in 1964, they took a week long climbing trip to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and from that point on, my Dad became a true mountaineer. Here he is climbing on that first trip to the Tetons on a practice climb.
My Dad shared his love of the outdoors with my sister and I from an early age! Here we are hiking in one of Indiana's lovely state parks in 1965.
In 1967, we took a family trip to the Canadian Rockies where we visited Banff and Jasper National Parks. My Dad was smitten with those mountains!
Every summer, we took many camping trips across the state of Colorado and beyond. They were fun times! I love this photo of my sister giving him some rabbit ears! So many great memories of hiking, laying on picnic tables at night after the campfire had died down, watching the stars and meteors shooting across the sky, watching the wildlife, and waking every morning to my Dad getting the camp stove going to heat water for our morning tea!
In 1978, Daddy got to fulfill a long held dream of backpacking in those Canadian Rockies he had fallen in love with years before!
He came back with amazing photographs of the scenery and wonderful memories.
My Dad continued to hike and climb into his mid-70s. For years he led hikes and climbs for the Colorado Mountain Club. One of his life goals was to climb all the peaks that we could see from our house on the mesa east of Boulder. It's a goal that I think he achieved! Many of them more than once!
In his later years, Daddy didn't do as much climbing, though he still did a lot of hiking and walking. He returned to the bird watching of his youth. He and my Mom both became master birders, traveling this country and world to observe the birdlife in various areas. It allowed him to still be outside, enjoying nature.
Most of my mental images of my Dad are either standing on a mountaintop, or with binoculars in hand watching the birds!
My Dad was an amazing man. Humble, possessor of a gentle and kind heart, soft spoken, and a heart the size of the mountains he loved. I'm so grateful for all that he shared with my sister and I and for the many years we had together! Miss him so very much.