Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The End of an Era

Update: The P-I has decided to extend Karen's "Hike of the Week" one more week, with the last article scheduled to appear March 19th.

An era is about to come to an end on Thursday. I know this to be true, but still can’t seem to believe the news.

After thirteen years of writing the “Hike of the Week” for the Seattle P-I Getaways section, my good friend Karen Sykes is approaching the finish line. It’s been a marathon of sorts for her, complete with joys, challenges, hardships, rewards, and stories that will last her (and I hope us) the rest of her life. She is finishing the race strong. Her energy level and motivation are high. Her determination is fierce. This is a race we all new she would complete; victory was never a concern or doubt. We just didn’t know it would be so soon.

Karen will be writing her last hiking article for the P-I on Thursday.

I first met Karen on a hike. Let me correct that. I first met Karen on a long drive to do a hike in Eastern Washington. I enjoyed her company immediately and it became quite clear that it was going to be a fun day. She had a very happy, outgoing personality and an equally enjoyable sense of humor. I don’t remember where conversation steered us that day for the 3-1/2 hours plus on the road, but I remember there being a lot of laughs. A third person whose name escapes me did the driving that day. I jest of course. It was our good friend Alan Bauer, who's images grace this entry (thank you Alan).

My friendship with Karen has grown since that first hike. I’ve followed her hiking accounts in the P-I as well as another forum we both frequent, and have shared laughs via e-mails and phone calls many times. I have resurrected her computer from the dead on multiple occasions. Well, not really. But she would have you believe so.

It was while working on her computer one day that we began talking publishing projects again. When Karen learned of my book Mt. Rainier, she asked me for a copy to review for the P-I. I was in shock! Of course, I obliged too!

When Karen’s review came out, I was flabbergasted. I was expecting a quick couple of paragraphs and just hoped that they would read kindly. I was astonished to find a very in-depth, two-page review with one of my blown-up images jumping across the page! Oh, and she was kind too! Seeing it was truly an incredible experience for me. And now as I look back on it, it is also important to me because it wasn’t just written by a book reviewer trying to meet deadline, it was written by Karen.

Karen will be writing her last hiking article for the P-I on Thursday.

Life is about changes and that rings true with Karen as well. She is soon to experience many new ones and I am very excited for her. One of these changes is her new blog she has started, which I encourage you to visit. She has written about the difficult times and emotions she has experienced as that finish line comes into view. It’s a powerful read. Bookmark it and come back often. I think she’s about to find the finish line to be a simple piece of ribbon, and that the road in fact has a long way to go.

Karen, you made Thursdays fun and something to look forward to. Thank you.

All images appear courtesy Alan L. Bauer. I had a camera too - I was just too busy trying to keep up with Karen.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo for raising a toast to Karen and all that she has done. That is, until we haul her over to the desert this spring again for another true adventure of laughs.

    And to think, our first porcupine sighting all happened, the three of us together, in that tree as we headed to Steamboat Rock State Park that morning....