“… And I want to thank all the little people out there…”

No good writer starts any project without a dedication.

Mine is to my old buddy Philip.

…Phil, you would’ve loved what the Internet has become. It’s way beyond our dreams from back in the 80s…
… Remember all that stuff we wanted to write about… About being outdoors and how it just gave you that “BeHereNow” feeling and just plain having fun?…
… You can do it now. Just this easily…
… Remember how we always talked about heading out for a couple of days with just a fanny-pack and a bottle of water? … 
… Bubba, you ought to see ultralight gear today…

He was my oldest and best friend. We went back to the first day of University. We misbehaved gratuitously in the matter of the 60s and 70s. We rocked out and we got down.
Then we always got out in the woods. We hiked, and biked, and kayaked, and rock climbed. 
Almost all of the best of my memories of camping and hiking revolve around Phil.
He died at the age of 41 while hiking down in the Virginia mountains. He had a heart attack. He simply slumped against a tree trunk, put his hand to his chest and slid to the ground. He was gone.
He was with a half a dozen other people on an improved trail. He was the president of the Sierra Club, he was a vastly experienced hiker and didn’t have any history of heart trouble. But he was gone just that quickly.
This year he will of been gone for as long as I had the pleasure of his company.
Together, we went so many places, and did so many things outdoors. It’s only fitting that I think about him when I think about re-engaging with the wild.

… Philip, I know you’re always there, on the other side of the fire…


One thought on ““… And I want to thank all the little people out there…”

  1. I assume we’re talking Phil Burkholder? I heard when he passed on, I didn’t know it was on a hike. One of my fond memories is of his girlfriend Jenny. I was hanging around the U one summer, and stayed in a vacated dorm room for a couple of weeks till a better housing opportunity presented itself. The dorm was filled with Law students wanting serenity to study for the bar exam. When the wannabe lawyer saw me moving my stuff in he got a bit huffy and said he didn’t think they were having roommates. Jenny, who was helping me move, winked at him and said, “You don’t know the half of it.” He found another room.

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