Sunday, August 21, 2011

Voyage to Sheep Lake

Several years ago it became tradition that Birch and the older boys would join Mark Cox and his boys for a memorable weekend camping. Over the years there have been two other families that have sometimes joined in on the fun. Keeping with tradition the dads and boys began planning this year's trip in late spring. The last couple of years they have gone to Sheep Lake.

June 30th our lives all changed. Mark died of a brain aneurism leaving behind his five young kids, sweetheart, and a whole heck of a lot of people that love him. The Cox family is an extension to our family and Mark is like an uncle to our kids. One of the things that both of our kids expressed soon after Mark passed away was were they still going to be able to go on their Sheep Lake trip.

We all promised the kids that this tradition was going to live in remembrance of their daddy. Birch and his brothers go on an annual backpacking trip in honor of their dad and now our kids will be able to keep Mark's memory alive each year as they hike in his honor.
Mark and three of his boys - picture taken in 2010
The kids all love to talk about how cool is was that Mark fed the squirrel out of his hand last year - picture taken in 2010
Mark was well-known for his "trail buddy" that he invented to lighten the loads of his kids back. He now will have other opportunities to lighten his kids loads from the other side. - picture taken 2010
This year Uncle Lance (Brooke's brother) was elected to share in the joy of this year's voyage to Sheep Lake. Birch said he was so kind and good with the kids.
The two mile hike to the camp spot was started just at dusk. They had to set up their tent by the flashlight.
The next morning everyone warmed themselves by the fire.
Nate chowing down on his instant oatmeal.
As soon as the air got warm the kids all went hunting for the perfect stick to carve. Nate spent hours working on his stick.
Stripling Warriors - can I brag a bit? We really both do have such wonderful kids. They are good examples to their friends, they honor their family name, and they lean on each other for support. Could you ask for better friends for your kids to have?
Nate kept this smile going even with his loaded down hiking backpack.
My dad started the Polar Bear club years ago -- even without Poppi's pressure the boys know that when there is water you must emerge yourself--no matter the temperature. Tyler said the water was FREEZING! I believe it because there was still quite a bit of snow in areas.
Alex was the first to take a dive.
Peer pressure can be a good thing -- these boys all ended up in the frigid water.
Nate tried a little spear fishing.
On the hike back down the kids had a great time doing a little bum sledding on a snow patch. Alex went down a couple of times.
Birch said that he was really touched when Nate's best buddy Chase lost his stick and Nate gave him his without hesitation. Isn't that was friends are for?
I love this picture because to me it is like Birch is saying, "What's up -- yeah, these are my boys and I am dang proud of them."
The older boys all sprinted down the end of the trail and collapsed at the end.

Everyone came home tired, dirty, and full of fun stories. Birch said throughout the weekend the boys would say, "Remember when..." and share a special or funny memory of Mark. Several of the kids shared that they couldn't think of a better way to remember Mark then by going on an annual hike in his name. Mark will always be missed but his memory will stay strong and alive within our family!


b said...

Love the post!! So Sweet. Nate's face is priceless as he's doing "the ultimate pose" B

emily a. said...

What a great tradition to keep on.

Matt said...

Really loved this post. Great meaning, memories and pictures. I'm sure Mark accompanied from the other side!