They have finally released
the names of the 7 hikers killed by the flood in Zion.
Like myself, some of you may have known these hikers who were known throughout the outdoors community in the state and in the West.
Though I didn't get the pleasure of spending much time I met Mark Mackenzie and Muku Reynolds after joining them on an impromptu hike up San Gorgonio in May. They were both strong people and I had a great time hiking with them and spending some time on the summit.
I also bumped into Muku while heading up Kearsarge Pass earlier this June. She and a companion had just finished a climb of Mt. Gould. I was really impacted by her attitude and friendliness. It was cool to stop and chat for a while.
I was really looking forward to climbing/bumping into her and Mark on numerous other peaks.
It's a sad story. I am sorry to hear of this loss. It's surreal to hear about vibrant people you know losing their lives.
Though I feel some small piece of a greater grief shared by those closest to these seven (and the other drivers affected by this event), I find that there is some small comfort in the bit of an unspoken creed between outdoors-people.
It's a creed that we live by: we go to the wild places to touch a primal part of who we are. We go out to sweat under the sun, to lean upon the mountains, to fight against gravity. We go out to test our fears, to sigh at our weaknesses, and remind ourselves that we can do far more than civilization demands from us. We think and walk, we meet with others on high, but we always do so with intent to be smart and come home.
Sometimes we don't. Sometimes we crash against our limits, and sometimes bad things transpire at an unfortunate time.
Yet death never comes for the hiker, kayaker, jumper or mountaineer on death's terms. If it comes, it comes while we were doing what we loved, it came out of valiant effort.
Though tragedy is terrible, it is important to remember that these were beautiful and strong people out to taste beauty through trial. No matter what, we will not look at the death of a hiker as a pitiful helpless slipping away. It came and we will remember these people for what they were: strong, willful, and loved.
We will do our best to learn and be safe. We will remember them through tears, comforted that they lived life on strong terms.
We will miss you Mark, Linda, Steve, Gary, Muku, Robin, and Don.
May your skies be blue, your paths be clear, your horizon rugged, and your breathing deep. Be safe out there everyone.