It’s funny how when you really care about someone and who they are and what you’ve accomplished together, hugs are a good way of expressing that care.

When we reached the summit of Gannett, Jim was the first to come over and give me a big hug of congratulations and many words of encouragement.  Rob did the same thing.  It was a joyous moment.  Jim, however, had lost his dad about two years earlier and the loss was still with him.  I hope that in some way I might have been his surrogate father for that summit and that he gave me what he had long to give his father at the top of a mountain.

Again, when we reached the lower saddle of the Grand, we all embraced warmly before Rob and Jim set off for the summit.  There is nothing guaranteed in mountaineering.  A slip, a mistake by you or someone else, can be fatal at high altitudes.  The send off hugs can be a bit tearful when you think for a fleeting moment that the person may not return.

At the airport Rob and Jim dropped me off and were anxious to get on the road.  I gave each a big hug and it was returned warmly.  I think facing an element of danger together and coming out the other side safely, creates a unique bond that can’t help but bring you closer together.

Hugs are good.  They say so much without saying a word.


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