June 2016 – Meadow Creek – Trail 89 – Dennis Sawyer

Maybe I love the outdoors because as kids we were encouraged (errrr….. forced) to ‘go outside!’ My father would take us on outdoor vacations to places like Cape Cod and Maine where we would fish, take boat rides and play in the ocean. It was common for us to help our grandfathers in their vegetable gardens. When my parents lived in western Massachusetts, Dad showed us the local nature sites including Bash Bish Falls, and Bartholomew’s Cobble. So this month’s hiking subject will be my father, Dennis Sawyer.

I get many of my traits from him…both good and bad. I get my corny sense of humor from him and my sometimes painful directness from him. I didn’t know I get my ‘list-making’ and planning skills from him until ten or more years ago when he was planning a European trip. He had taken books out of the library and made lists of places to see on his now famous scrap pieces of paper. I recall thinking to myself, “I do that exact same thing!”

He shared his love of music with his four children. I think he was disappointed that none of us enjoyed opera the way he did, but I do love classical music and that is his doing. He would take us to free concerts in the park, and play classical music on the 8-track in the car.

I am thrifty (okay, cheap) like him and stubborn like him.  I can play a wicked game of Gin Rummy because he taught me how to strategize while sitting at the coffee table watching the Yankees. He taught me to be responsible, independent and hard working.

He was strict with us when we were young. He taught his four children to not be late, or the doors would be locked – a promise he kept more than once. We had to have manners and be polite. No elbows on the table, no running on the stairs, no backtalk. When Lorin got a spanking, I remember us all being very well-behaved for many days after.

We had to eat everything on our plate because there were children starving in China. There was no television watching until after Walter Cronkite gave Dad the news.

There was no sleeping late in our house. One day, when the girls were sleeping past 8:00 a.m., he and my brother Patrick got pot and pan lids and came marching into our room clanging the lids. He pulled the covers off of us and wouldn’t leave until our feet were on the floor.

On one road trip my oldest sister threw a tissue out the window. Dad stopped the car on the highway, and backed the car up. Cary told him she wasn’t getting out of the car. His reply was, “Oh, you’re getting out of this car. Whether you get back in the car with that tissue is up to you. But make no mistake, you’re getting out of this car.”

She picked up the tissue and got back in, sniffling most of the remainder of the trip. Reminiscing about this incident recently, the four siblings confirmed that none of us have ever littered since that day.

My father’s health had been deteriorating over the past 18 months.  He accepted help around the house, a new development for our family. On April 11th, during a medical procedure, Dad had a massive stroke. His wife, children, grandchildren, sisters and best friend visited him as much as possible. I was honored to help in any way I could…… driving Mom to the hospital, talking to the doctors, helping make medical decisions. At one point, my mother thanked me for helping her. I replied, “No problem Mom. I’ve been meaning to thank you and Dad for raising me right.”

Dad passed away on May 7th. There was never any argument or disagreement on any of those tough decisions we had to make. Dad was clear about what he wanted and did not want. We all respected that and worked together to carry out his wishes. I’m proud of how we all worked together to aide him and my mother during that difficult month.

So this month’s hike I will take alone and think about Dad, Mom, Cary, Lorin and Patrick. And I’ll probably hum a little “La Traviata” too.

 

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Hike Information:

Name:   Meadow Creek – Trail 89  

Distance:  various

Difficulty: moderate

Directions: Beginning at the intersection of Highway 15 and 32nd Street, drive 13.5 miles north on Highway 15. On your right, you will see a Forest sign saying “Meadow Creek 3 Miles”. Turn right (you will see signage stating this is “149”) and drive on this sometimes rough dirt road for 2.6 miles. You will see a campfire ring and small pull-off on your right. Park here.

Hike Description: Start by walking .44 miles (about 10 minutes) until you enter a large parking area where I regularly see people camping.  As you pass the large open area, the dirt road you are on curves to the left. On the right you will see a road/trail. It is Trail 89, but the brown Forest Service marker was on the ground when I was there. This trail takes you up the hillside and then along an old logging road. Once you get to the top, it levels out. There is a fork in the road; stay right for this hike.

Notes: 

Some vehicles may be able to drive further along FR149 and park further up. But this girl is chicken so you proceed the way you feel comfortable.

At this time of year, I recommend that you bring bug repellent.

 

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About Gila Hiker

First I hiked 100 different trails in a year, now I write a monthly article in Desert Exposure about a local hike. Come on out to Silver City..... and bring your hiking gear!

Posted on July 7, 2016, in CD Trail, Continental Divide, Gila National Forest, Hike, Hiking, Meadow Creek, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Outdoors, Silver City, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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