Monday, July 9, 2012

Strawberry Mountain Legacy

While planning the family reunion, my cousins asked everyone what activities we would like to do as part of the event.  I knew immediately!  It is the only activity I had strong feelings about.
Google Image
I wanted to be sure we took the hike that we had taken every time I visited Oregon during my childhood.  There are many trails and mountains to hike in the state of Oregon ... but none of them are as valuable as this one.  Why?
Because of my uncle Vern Richard!  My uncle loved family ... and he loved the woods.  He made his living in the woods ... but built his life around his family.  And fortunately that included all of his nieces and nephews!  His smile was infectious, hugs were always available ... and even though we would squeal and pretend to protest, we loved his infamous whisker rubs!
Summer - 1975,  My last hike with Uncle Vern Richard
Every time we traveled from Minnesota to Oregon, he would load us cousins and any child in his reach into his pick-up.  Us older cousins were assigned a younger one to hang on to...
Prairie City - 1975, On our way to Strawberry Mountain
... and off we would go on the 30 mile ride to the Strawberry Mountain trail head.  Uncle Vern was usually the only adult ... actually ... now that I think about it, he was really the oldest kid! :-) Precious memories.  
First Cousins at 2012 Reunion
Here are a few of those cousins, 37 years later, who have hiked that trail multiple times with Uncle Vern Richard.  Hmmmm...not sure we'd fit in the back of a truck now! ;-)  I was upset when I injured my knee last fall and required surgery in March for obvious reasons ... one was this hike.  I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to do it.  I almost didn't try.  Before arriving I had convinced myself that I would attempt it, and not be upset if I didn't make it.

We cousins may have changed a lot over the years, but the trail hadn't!  Memories immediately came back as we began the hike.  

Most of the climb was gradual ... we stopped often to give my knee a rest ... and to soak up the forest surrounding us.  Mr. DillyDally served as my coach as I made slow and steady progress ... Uncle Vern Richard was the angel who helped me believe it was possible. 
Strawberry Lake
It took me a while, but I made it!  
Just as in years past...
 ... I was with family ... on the mountain ... in the woods ... thanks to an uncle who shared his passion for the woods with his loved ones.  What a legacy for Uncle Vern Richard to create!
I could feel him smile as his 23 month old great great nephew took his first hike with us!  The legacy continues!  Thank you Uncle Vern Richard!
Do what you love. Pass on a legacy. Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally


  1. Oh Mrs. Dillydally you made me cry with your beautiful words and photos. Thank you for sharing and I am so happy you were able to hike.

  2. That was so sweet. Made me remember wonderful memories of my own.

  3. I agree with Julie - it made me think of some wonderful days that I spent with a Great Aunt & Uncle in Minnesota on their farm. It's great that you and your cousin were able to do it again!

  4. What a wonderful story. It makes me wonder what our grandchildren are going to remember about visiting our MN home.
    The special part of your story is seeing the 'old' photo's. They look just like my photo album... different faces.

  5. Thanks for sharing this great story! Like others have said, I'm finding my self remember my past and wondering what my kiddos will remember in the future.