Hike with a Burden

We took a hike this weekend with backpacks full of some very special cargo. My little online support group takes pictures of one another’s babies’ names for name galleries when we find an opportunity. This was my contribution to my friends’ name galleries.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and evidence of the merging seasons littered the trail. There were wildflowers, and there were the golden turning leaves of the aspen. I even saw two butterflies, which is two more than I expected to see this time of year. The trail is normally an easy hike, but with rocks in the pack, we sweated and breathed a little harder. These were burdens we were happy to carry–the names of babies who passed too soon written on tiny stones in Sharpie.

It took us just a couple of hours to reach the waterfall. We set each stone down in a safe little nook beside the waterfall, and took pictures of each name to send to parents. Then we piled all of the babies’ stones like a cairn, and took a picture. I had resolved to leave the stones in the nook beside the waterfall, but after we climbed back up, and sat on the ledge overlooking the stones, I started to worry that someone might find the stones and toss them around, not knowing how special they were. So I climbed back down and gathered every stone into my pack again. Steven found a place protected by all kinds of brush and thorns–it was very difficult to reach, which was comforting to me. I wanted the stones to be hard to find, therefore hard to disturb.

In the little hidden spot where I placed the stones, there was a tiny waterfall–a baby waterfall! I piled up the stones at the root of a tree, thankful for the mothers who let me do this. It was a good hike, and my muscles are a little sore today. Here are a few photographs, babies’ names obscured for privacy:

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