Woody - Wilderness Adventurer
Woody was very athletic, and had a passionate love for Nature and exprierencing it in any number of forms -- walking, biking, swimming, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, snow-shoeing, etc. He would do things like swim clear across a lake a mile wide. But the greatest adventures I shared with him were on mountains. We climbed the highest volcanoes in Mexico. (Although Woody passed up an opportunity to summit on the highest peak, Orizaba, explaining that given his sleep-deprived state it wasn't worth the risk to his loved ones of his possibly getting hurt.)
We climbed in the White Mountains of New Hampshire numerous times, and more than once in the dead of winter. One time in February we took a "shortcut" down from Mount Washington and ended up post-holeing (we hadn't snowshoes) through 3-foot deep encrusted snow, frequently falling up to our chests, for 2 1/2 miles, rushing to get out by nightfall. I was near panic but Woody had utterly calm determination and sympathy for me. (We were never in any serious danger, since we could have made a snow cave to stay warm through the night.)
In 1998 Woody made the High Sierra traverse from Cedar Grove to Mammouth, a cross-country route that seldom drops below 9000'. I gave him the send-off. The first rise is 5000' and he climbed it with his ridiculously heavy pack stuffed with weeks worth of food, in a matter of a few hours. If you know of anybody who can climb 1000 feet per hour at 10000' elevation with a 45 pound pack I would like to meet them! Woody could. The next day we climbed Munger Peak from which we could see Goat Peak, Arrow Pean, and the polished granite slopes to the west. The next day we parted after climbing a similar peak. Within about one hour of our separation I found myself in an exposed basin in the most frightening electrical storm of my life, with large hail and nearby strikes. Now that seems like a foreshadowing of the storm that has ripped through my life since Woody was taken from me in that church, this time not to reunite on the other side of a range of mountains. The week that I got the news about Woody's shooting, my altimeter watch faded and died. It is the same watch and battery I used to record our progress up that 5000' slope, during our last trip to the Sierras together.