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A Mother’s trip back to the MountainMeagan and I decide that Devlin wouldn’t be happy in a cemetary so we decided to take his ashes back to the mountain he so loved. You see I haven’t been hiking in at least 15 years and this was going to be at least 6,000 feet up snake back trails. I figured that I had experienced the pain of childbirth in bring him into this word, the least I could do is to see him out.We also to offered an invitation of a barbeque to the Guys who found my son as a way of thanking them. So the invitations were issued and every thing was a go.On Friday 8/1/08, we folk that haven't been hiking in20 some years started at the base of Crystal Mountain Ski Lodge. We unloaded our camping gear to be pack on a mule called John. He carried 300 lbs. They also had a baby raccoon in camp.They got to the site before we did and had a fire going and wood gathered. Going up, I had trouble with the loose shale rock, so we called the horse coral and they brought two horses. I rode the pinto and was initially led by one of the owners, Darlene. My husband actually took the reins himself and did a great job. My horse, Little Foot did not like being lead because she wasn't use to being lead by another horse. So it was decided that Darlene would let her husband Denny lead Little Foot and me. Every thing settled down after that. The horses would go a bit then stop to nibble on grass to catch their breath.I had only been on one other horse in my life and that was all on flat surfaces.I was glad the Denny was leading me on Little Foot and every once in a while she would try to get ahead of the horses by going into a little trot to get by the other horse. Boy what a jarring that was! Denny explained that she wanted to get ahead of the other horses so she could eat more grass. As we were climbing, we saw an old miner’s camp; with rusting equipment. Who knows how long it had been sitting there.It was beautiful country and I was seeing it through my son's eyes. The hills, majestic trees, snow covered hills and beautiful flowers of every variety. The only thing that kind of bothered me was that the horses love to walk on the edge of the path next to the drop off. Denny would say don't look down and of course I did. When I am on the ground it look a long ways down, but high up on Little Foot it looked even longer and a lot more frightening. I got use to it though and Little Foot got me to where I wanted to go with the help of Denny and Darlene. I also learned that Darlene had never been that far up before, so she was enjoying the trip also.We made camp that night. My husband had pitched our tent on a slight incline at night I kept slipping down toward the entrance. Tim would wake me a couple of times and I would crawl back up. I asked him in the morning why he didn’t just let me stay where I was. He said because he wanted me to be comfortable. I said “I was comfortable as I was still asleep until he woke me”.The next day after breakfast we made plans to go to where the boys were found and to the hut they had made to scatter ashes. I was emotionally unable to go to the site where they were found, and physically couldn't make it to the hut. I also had guilty feelings that I couldn’t do this for him.Meagan, my nephew and all the others went. They took some ashes to spread at the site they were found and in the hut they had built. I was glad that my nephew Cliff had gone and that there was blood relation in attendance as Tim decided to stay with me in camp even though I had told him to go. I was kind of glad as I had broken down and the emotions were seeping out. I would carry my son’s ashes around and cry. I hadn’t realized how emotional this was going to be.The group returned and I could tell by the look on Katy’s face that it probably been worse if I had gone. So we started the barbeque before my angels, the Turns all year group (back country skiers and boarder) that found them came. Nobody had arrived yet and it was getting dark. We were hoping that they hadn’t decided not to come as we had two choices regarding the food. 1. Pack the food back down, all 200+ or 1. Eat it all. There were only 6 people and two dogs. We all crossed our fingers.Suddenly there seemed to be three dogs in our midst. A beautiful Husky had smelled our food and decided to join us little camp. So this gave us a clue that the other group was somewhere close. We started whistling to alert them to where we were. The top of the trail was a ways up. They heard us and we could hear them. Finally, my nephew Cliff and Meagan decided to go look for them a ways over from where we were. They finally found them and lead them to our camp. They told us that they had saw the arrow Cliff had drawn on they trail, but thought we were farther over. I said. “You should have followed Cheugatch, the Husky and he would have led you here”. He knew where the food was”.I felt so happy they showed up because this gave me the opportunity to thank these selfless group in person; as these men did not know my so or Kevin and Phil the two men that were with my son. I had an opportunity to express my feelings and what it meant to me that they had found them. We fed them and hugged them and had a wonderful time talking with them.It was time. We walked down the trail until we found a wonderful stream that we could get to and in a private ceremony with Tim, Meagan, my son's girlfriend, Meagan's father Ward, Katie a friend that my son built a deck for, and myself started the long goodbye. Meagan took Devlin’s ashes into the center of the stream and placed the ashes in it. My son's dog logger walked through it just to stir him up a little to get him going on his journey.The next day the four of us, one of the searchers and his wife, and one standard poodle; went down a different way, which by the way was easier than the way I went up, as it was mostly path. As I traversed the path, I keep looking at the creek and felt my son walking beside me. In a little while there came into view, the most beautiful waterfall I had seen in a long time. All the time I was hiking down, I felt Devlin beside me encouraging me all the way down; as I was having trouble with my right foot. I kept stumbling and only fell once this timeWhen we got down, we found their small car and I wondered how we were all going to fit six back-backs and six adults plus two pretty good size dogs into this car. Lucky for us, all our packs fit in the trunk. So Ross, the driver, his wife Celia and Ward piled into the front made for two. Katie, my Husband, and myself; piled into the back with Katie's standard poodle Simon. Talk about sardines in a can. Then Ross had to drive all of us 20 miles to the parking area, were we had left our cars.It was a bitter sweet journey but I enjoyed it. I can't say I would do it again unless it is on a horse. So that is my tribute to my son and now I can look out at Mt Rainier and see him and his monument, from work on nice days. Sometimes, because I get to work before light; there is the most gorgeous sunrise and I imagine him snowboarding and having the most wonderful time.If you would like to see pictures of the trip and more of my son I have built a website in tribute to him. Please go to
Oh Loggers, how beautiful! The stream going to a waterfall is just perfect--he can fly thru the mountainside forever.