A Special, Final Message

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Hockey Ref
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A Special, Final Message

Post by Hockey Ref »

This is a very special message to my Glacier chat friends:

It's time for me to say farewell.

Many of you know that I have battled colon cancer since late 2007. Twice I thought we'd driven it away for good, only to have it return both times. Apparently I have a fairly aggressive form of the disease that prefers off-trail hikes to established trails, the better to lurk and lie in wait for unsuspecting victims. My last four Glacier trips were all sandwiched between various major and minor surgeries, more than three dozen chemo treatments, and many lesser procedures.

Unfortunately, my body no longer is able to fend off the tumors growing and spreading throughout me. The latest prognosis from my oncologist leaves me between two and six months...and that was two weeks ago!

Because of all that, this post likely will be my final chat board input. I need to use what time I have remaining to focus on my family and their needs as my journey comes to an end. I will continue to track the board as much as I can, until I no longer can. But I probably won’t be posting.

Before I go, I want to thank Dave Parker and the other site administrators for putting this board together and for keeping the gears humming along. It’s been both an honor and a privilege to have contributed to this site over the years, and I can only hope that any input I’ve had has been helpful and, above all, accurate. As a resource for Glacier enthusiasts by other Glacier enthusiasts, this site has no equal.

As a housekeeping note, I've placed ongoing administration and management of the Glacier FAQ document posted at the top of this section in the capable hands of Tim Heffernan (Heff939). Please refer future FAQ comments, suggestions, and/or questions to Tim from now on.

With that, I'll say so long. May your hikes be filled with scenic wonders and your feet remain dry and blissfully blister-free. And the next time you reach a cairn at the top of a pass, particularly if it's Swiftcurrent Pass, please toss a stone on top for me as well. I'd appreciate it!

Happy trails!

Paul (Andy) Anderson (Hockey Ref)
Hockey Ref

"No man lies on his death bed wishing he'd spent more time at the office...or getting chemo."

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by Tsmith »

Wow Paul I am in aw shock to say the least yet at a loss for words in so many ways. I pray that a miracle can happen for you and your family. The board won't be the same my friend ... :cry:
Visit my Glacier NP Photo Gallery and leave comments if you like, thanks!

Jen

Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by Jen »

This forum will never be the same. :cry:

I too, am at a loss for words. I am sad that we never got a chance to meet in person. Your presence here is invaluable and irreplaceable. I am sending good vibes for your family to stay strong.

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by pitamakan »

All my best wishes and good thoughts to you, Paul. It's been great getting to know you here, and I would have really loved to have been able to join you on a Glacier hike.

Take care,
Mark

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by southernguy »

Hey Andy
I know you have been battling this disease for some time now. I feel like we are good friends even though we have never met.

May God be with you and your family

Jim

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by teapot57 »

Hockey Ref,

This past winter, I have spent a lot of time reading old trip reports and other threads and have noticed how many helpful as well as hilarious posts you've made. Thank you for everything you have offered to the board. We are all very lucky to have spent time here with you.

I intend to be at Swiftcurrent pass this summer and will indeed add a stone to the cairn for you. I wish you peace and comfort.

Tina

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by isleroyaleguy »

southernguy wrote:Hey Andy
I know you have been battling this disease for some time now. I feel like we are good friends even though we have never met.

May God be with you and your family
Amen
Your words and pictures have been an inspiration to us and many others. Our prayers are with you.
Doug and Anita

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by mikie »

Paul, you will be sorely missed. I have enjoyed reading your post over the past couple of years. In particular, the trip report for the northern loop. Actually read it three times. I have also used your FAQ a number of times. Thank you for all your help and contributions. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. Probably more then you realize. I am sure that Tim will continue to build upon your work.

I will be thinking of you while hiking in Glacier this summer. I do wish you a peaceful journey, and best wishes to your family.

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by paul »

Andy,

As others have said, this site won't be the same without you. Although we've never met in person, I feel like I know you well from your posts and your dedication to this site over the years. I hope you continue to fight this disease as you've been doing for so long. I will pray from you and your family.

Paul
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by Marmotman »

Andy,
It was an honor meeting you 2 summers ago at Swiftcurrent cabins and a treat to talk with you. I will be going over Swiftcurrent Pass this summer and will definately place a rock there in your honor. I can't find any more words to say other than may God bless you for making this board that much better and helping all those that asked.

Mitchell

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by calicotraveler »

I am SO sorry to hear this. You have given so much to this Chat through the years. You will be missed! :cry:
The mountains are calling and I must go.

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by llholmes1948 »

Andy,

I am so sorry to hear of this news and just can't imagine what you and your family have been going through. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

You have been a mainstay of our Chat for years. Your love of the Park and your great knowledge of the Park is evident in your posts. You have helped so many people (me included) with your hiking tips and FAQs. No one loves the Park more than you!

I am so glad that you were able to do that great backcountry trip a few years ago and that you finally did Siyeh Pass, which you had not done previously, and that you did Pitamakan - Dawson again.

As former GPI hotel employees from the 1970s (you at Many Glacier Hotel and me at Lake McDonald Lodge) I looked forward to a summer when we would be at the Park at the same time and could do some hikes together and reminisce about our hotel days. I am sad that we are not going to be doing that.

You have been a great friend to those of us on the Chat. We will miss you immensely.

Good friend, Stay Strong and Take Care,
Lyman

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by Ear Mountain »

Andy, please accept my best wishes and prayers for you and your family. Rest easy knowing that you have helped and encouraged an untold number of people in their quest for enjoyment of the park we all love. Your contributions will always remain in the hearts and souls of others.

Also I strongly encourage you to not give up the struggle. There's a saying Yogi Berra used, "It ain't over till it's over!" One does not know the twists and turns of this hideous disease you're fighting, but miracles do happen and I'm praying for yours.
Ear Mountain Photography.
Text and photos Copyright 2007-2012.

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by Bruce »

It goes without saying that our community is deeply saddened to learn of your condition. As others have said you have been a steady, invaluable resource to all of us and you will be deeply missed. Our family's prayers are with you and your family... take care Andy.

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Re: A Special, Final Message

Post by July Guy »

Andy,

In the past 9 years since I coined the phrase "Hockey Ref Hike" I have sometimes felt guilty about it. I felt that I had placed an unwanted burden on you or at the very least served as an annoyance. Your response: "The WHAT hike?" was steeped in respect for those that walked that path before you, and your humility was refreshing and poignant.

But, I have no regrets. Your descriptions of that trail will not be bested. It boils over with a passion and a love that cannot be masked. Most of all I know now, as I did then that you loved it best, better than those who walked it before you and those that will discover it for the first time. When I walk that path I will feel you all around me.

Like others I have not met you in person, but in my daydreams I imagined us sharing a beer and a laugh over it, and I believe that someday, somewhere we will.

Thank you for everything, friend.

Dave.
"So how was your trip to Minnesota, or Canada, or wherever it is you go?"

~ Coworker

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