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Pepe Lepew On July - 15 - 2010

The Heavenly Twins from the summit of St. Mary Peak

Hi, haven’t posted here for a bit. When the sun is out, I’m not at the computer as much.

We hiked up to the top of St. Mary Peak yesterday. It’s the easiest 9,000-foot peak I’ve ever summited, mostly because the trailhead starts at 6,800 feet, so you only have to go 2,550 feet uphill in 4 1/2 miles. For such a large mountain, it’s quite easy to summit. I’ve seen people bonk and collapse at 8,000 feet because they can’t handle the altitude, and the first couple of times I did it, it hurt, but I’ve gotten used to it. You see young kids at the top all the time and this day, we even saw a baby.

It was a beautiful gorgeous day. We purposely started out late, because it was very, very cold in the morning  — actually in the 20s — and we weren’t sure how windy it would be at the top. Thank goodness they have graded this road. This used to be the worst road in the Bitterroots — 15 mph the whole way. Now you can go 25, at least!

There’s a trail all the way to the top and a very big, still active fire lookout. Most of the fire lookouts in the Northern Rockies have been abandoned, because they rely more on satellite and planes now to track fires, but they’ve kept this one. It was open, but the lookout was gone. You can see that big fire lookout all the way down at the Bitterroot Valley floor, 6,000 feet below.

The flagpole and lookout station

St. Mary is a very safe mountain. The trail switchbacks onto a broad, relatively flat plateau, then you climb up a slight hill to the top. Somehow, two people died on the mountain two years ago. It’s a complete mystery how they could have died. The best theory is that they had a dog with them and the dog ran off and fell down a cliff. While trying to rescue their dog, they fell off the cliff, too.

One time, a couple of years ago, I climbed it solo and ran into a raging blizzard. Really nasty. It got a little scary on the way back. This was in early August. I was reminded that this is a very big mountain very far north.

Anyway, at the summit of the mountain, you get an amazing view of the Bitterroots. You can see all the way from Trapper Peak to Lolo Peak. I could see all the Bitterroot 9,000-footers I am planning on climbing this summer. You can see far into Idaho. One time I climbed it, you could see a big forest fire that I knew was in central Idaho over 100 miles away.

The two most prominent peaks are called the Heavenly Twins, 9,282 feet and 9,243 feet. These peaks are a couple of real mountaineering challenges, well beyond my experience or gumption anymore. They are a couple of beautiful summits right on the Idaho/Montana border.

At the summit, people have built a neat cairn with a pole to attach Tibetan prayer flags. Last summer, the cairn was in full bloom with flag, but no one has replenished them yet this year. The flags are all torn and tattered by the ravages of the wind and the winter.

I thought this would be a nice place to leave a little memorial to a couple of longtime HP posters I will miss — CarlVee and HumeSkeptic. Not to the people of course, that is for their families and loved ones in the real world, but the posters, and their avatars. I brought up a couple of paper copies of their avatars, and left them under the cairn. Technically probably against the rules since this is a designated wilderness, but the cairn and flagpole itself is against the rules. I carefully placed some rocks over their images so they wouldn’t blow away.

I thought it was a nice place to remember them, with the view of the Heavenly Twins. I’ll miss their wit on HP. They made it seem homey somehow. Hume I especially remember from the old days on HP, when it was a safer place. It’s not as nice of a place as it used to be, for a lot of reasons, and their losses will contribute to that.

I was worried this little gesture might come off trite or corny. I hope it doesn’t. It was sincere.

Rain and snow will rot the paper over the next year. It will be interesting to see next year if their pictures are still there under the rock.

I left the avatars underneath this flagpole

Categories: Featured

17 Responses so far.

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  1. Hopeington says:

    With tears in my eyes I’m writing to say thank you Pepe.
    Hume has been in my thoughts a lot this week.
    There was nothing trite about your doing this…I think it was very fitting and I was moved by your thoughtfulness.
    I’ve been posting over there as funkyou and missed Hume almost immediately. He truly kept the place on it’s toes and is sorely missed by many.
    What I miss is the added info, to anything I read, that Hume commented on…others that were the standard bearer for that type of post are disappearing rapidly and many long time posters are deleting their profiles…I lost 2 today…peacepunkin and an old favorite, gunneragirl. Things just won’t be the same without him and his passing has made me reflect on what I want from the place and why I go there.
    Funny how someone you’ve never seen can effect your life in a big way…he actually made me a better person!…Thanks Hume
    and thanks again for this Pepe…your actually one of the folks I miss over there too!

  2. kesmarn says:

    Pepe, I think Hume and CarlVee would be delighted with a tribute like the one you gave them. (When I check out, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a copy of my window avatar on a mountain top — or better yet, just toss it at the peak and let it flutter away in the breeze. Thanks.)

    It was a lovely thought that you wanted to memorialize them while you were on vacation. Have and wonderful summer and stay safe.

  3. dildenusa says:

    I recognize the Einstein picture although I don’t know whose avatar that was. I have only been commeting on Huff Post since November 2009 and the Planet since early 2010 and I don’t do Facebook or Myspace. I used to comment on yahoo when I accessed the net using dial-up. Remember dial-up?

    Starting next week I will start teaching a beginner computer class at the local senior center. It’s a volunteer position. My hope is that I will be able to teach a bunch of old farts, no matter what their political beliefs are, how to be a thoughtful member of the virtual world.

    Because of my physical problems I can’t do mountain climbing anymore, although I do enjoy riding my bicycle through the desert.

    • kesmarn says:

      dildenusa, “wayback,” I used to comment on Prodigy using a dial up connection. Nothing but green letters on a black background. Primitive!

  4. escribacat says:

    Excellent tribute, Pepe. There’s something about the top of those peaks that feels very pure and real. It’s the perfect place to pay tribute to our lost friends. We do get attached to one another here in cyberspace, don’t we?

  5. PatsyT says:

    Pepe,

    This was in no way, trite.
    This is a wonderful way to honor our friends that are gone from our world.
    Looking at your photos I feel like I see them going off into their next world.
    I have looked at these photos several times today and each time, began to cry.
    What can you say?
    You have to say goodbye without ever meeting them or talking to them in person.
    Yet, you know them in a way and they know you.

    Isn’t it amazing how we can become so attached to folks we never talk to in person?
    Is it that when we have to write things down,
    we really get to the essence of how we think or feel?

    You did not have to be the most frequent flyer over at
    Huffpo to have know the impact of Hume
    and I know I have had many a laugh fit over Carl Vee’s posts.

    I was mostly in line with Hume’s positions, especially on Obama
    and having grown up in Cleveland, I really did like Kucinich, UFO’s and all!
    I never had anything to really argue about with him.

    What a small world.
    Once I noticed that Hume had posted a violin music vid
    Thats nice, I thought but how about this….


    Ha, he liked it, he liked it a lot!
    He was reposting the Heifeitz later that week
    I found something I could compete with Hume about!
    I had a secret weapon
    but so did he.
    We both have daughters that play the violin.
    He wished my daughter well in her college/conservatory process.
    His daughter had been thru all of that and
    had just played in an orchestra that did a new work by Phillip Glass.

    What a even smaller world.
    Hume and I both had worked on (in diferent states at different times)
    the Odyssey of the Mind/Destination Imagination program with our kids
    that is where the parents volunteer a ton of time to help the kids produce a interactive science/arts/engineering/performance piece and compete locally, statewide etc.
    I bet his kids did an amazing project.

    For the limited amount of time that I spent at huffpo
    Hume stood out,
    in so many ways.

    Pepe, you have given me a wonderful way to think of our friends.
    At the top of a beautiful mountain with nothing but fresh air and blue sky all around them.
    Kinda how they were in real life.

    This was one of Hume’s favorites


  6. seehowtheyrun says:

    Hi Pepe: What a beautiful gesture, it’s very touching. I was new to HP is Sept. 2008. Hume and Carl Vee were two of my favorite posters. I miss them.

    Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.

  7. Kalima says:

    I was just looking through my old emails knowing that I had several from Hume. There is this part of one I would like to share with you, I’m sure that he wouldn’t mind. He sent a song to me to explain his words below. It was just after Obama had won the election in 08.

    He wrote:

    “The election is over. We have a highly intelligent man with a good heart ready to lead us. We won a victory, but the struggle goes on… .here in America, our heart has to change in a fundamental way (you’ll hear that in the song).”


  8. choicelady says:

    Pepe -- what a lovely thing to do! I will bet there will be quite a few who will recognize at lest Hume’s avatar and smile that someone remembered him and brought him and Carl there. If there IS an “after” I bet both are over the moon at where their avatars wound up. What a glorious site, what a meaningful thing, what a kind heart have you. Thank you!

  9. WLA says:

    Anyone remember “Carl’s” internet radio talk show he tried to start up more than once? That was fun. I called in and did my best Dubya impression.

  10. WLA says:

    Thank you, Pepe.

  11. VegasBabe says:

    How very sweet Pepe. Hume remains in my thoughts and though he wouldn’t appreciate it much, in my prayers. I miss him terribly at HP. He was one of a kind.

  12. AlphaBitch says:

    What a touching tribute, Pepe. I loved them both -- two of my favorites on the Huffpo- although it was Floyd R Turbo that truly won my heart for some comment I can’t even remember. How our lives and words touch each other all the time…….

  13. Kalima says:

    Pepe, that is such an incredibly beautiful place to make your heartfelt gesture to both of them. It touched me deeply, and I’m sure that somewhere, they felt it too.

  14. boomer1949 says:

    Hi Pepe,

    I remember Hume from over there…when I first decided to dip my toe into the world of blogging. I knew his posts became less frequent, but had no idea he was so ill. So, in my best Google form I found this from another who “knew” Hume as well as you Pepe and much better than I:

    On HumeSkeptic, The Great Informer
    He took his user name from the 18th century philosopher, David Hume


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