Memories of Hiking Bob

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"Hello all; Does anyone have a hiking story they'd like to share with me? I'd be so happy to read them. I didn't get to see Bob for several years before he passed. We did get to talk on the phone and text. I'd love to read any stories you'd be willing to share. Please write me at djjwilly@frontiernet.net and thank you. Joan Williamson, his sister"
 
    - by Joan Williamson on 06/21/2016
 
 
"I also used some of Bob's pottery this Thanksgiving. The pie pans work great, as long as the oven's cold when you put it in, which is different. The mixing bowl loved having bread dough in. I still can't stop missing and thinking about my brother Bob. "
 
    - by Joan Baumgartner Williamson on 12/01/2015
 
 
"We thought of Bob as we used some of his beautiful pottery this past Thanksgiving. (He sometimes took pictures of the his pottery arranged artfully in our front yard.) Bob and we shared some 'Chicago and Hungarian History.' We wish your spirit well, Bob, wherever you're hiking or making pottery now. "
 
    - by Cook and Jim on 11/28/2015
 
 
"Within 2 weeks of moving to Boulder in May 1993, I happened across the Single Hikers post in the Camera. Met my first group of new friends that summer(along with Bob, of course): Dennis, Sandy & Sandy, Connie, Joe and Jim Wouldn't have happened without you Bob!"
 
    - by Beth on 11/07/2015
 
 
"Dedicated to my Brother, Bob Baumgartner I am an Artist I have a flame inside of me that other people cannot see. It drives me endlessly night and day along the path designed by God for me. I must create, I must rejoice in the majesty of this world, I have no choice but to let the flame feed my soul. It's the only driving force I know. The colors and textures of this place make my flame leap higher so there isn't a trace of anyone else I could be. I am an artist, my flame burns hot inside of me. My life is over, my artistry done. I left a legacy of beauty for everyone. Follow your own flame as I have done. It will keep you on fire until God calls you home. Joan Baumgartner Williamson 10/7/2015"
 
    - by Joan Baumgartner Williamson on 10/21/2015
 
 
"Dear Bob, remember when no one else showed up, so we hiked down Rattlesnake Gulch to Button Rock Reservoir? The ice crystals on the vegetation had grown to one inch long! We were filled with amazement and delight at our world transformed."
 
    - by Andrew on 10/21/2015
 
 
"Bob was a friend to me when I was very ill and no-one else was. I will miss him greatly. "
 
    - by Deborah Carlson on 10/19/2015
 
 
"Silver Dollar Lk Aug 9, 2015 my last hike w/Bob – I posted the below w/pics on 10/17/15 I told Bob this was my best hike of the season - beautiful weather, wild flowers, lakes; going off the beaten path for spectacular divide views and on the way down, Bob wanting to spend quiet time by Silver Dollar Lk. I'm sorry I did not post these sooner Bob - you'll just be viewing them from heaven. Over the past 10 yrs the times I hiked with you Bob were a gift - your kindness, adventurousness, patience, laughter, caring ... the surrounding beauty which your soul captured and expressed. The pics I posted exemplified my hiking with you; Bob leading us through beautiful scenery, taking us to new heights ... and beyond! May you rest in peaceful, verdant alpine pastures Bob and I'll look forward to joining you on your heavenly hikes one day - I know you've led a few already. I miss your BIG hugs! love always, linda "
 
    - by Linda on 10/17/2015
 
 
"Bob was the one who got me into regular hiking. I will always remember him for that"
 
    - by Sen on 10/16/2015
 
 
"Good morning, everyone. I'd like to introduce myself first. I'm Joan Baumgartner Williamson. We had five children in our family. first Bob, then Bill, me, my sister Jean and our brother Rick. I attended the memorial with Jorie and Jean for a while. We wanted to get back down the mountain before dark so we had to leave early and we apologize for that. That road is very intimidating to flatlanders like us. Bob didn't make any arrangements for what he wanted done with his pottery or jewelry collection. The shed at AAA storage was very loaded with personal possessions, pottery and jewelry from his Talisman Pottery store that closed many years ago, I think in the early 80's. Jean and Rick came in cars and my husband David and I came in a truck. We all decided that Jean and Rick would take what pieces they wanted and we would pack and take the remainder to our home in upstate NY, packing both our truck and a small Uhaul unit. We got it safely here yesterday after re-packing much of it so it could arrive without breakage. We prayed all the way nothing would be broken, but haven't opened the boxes yet. The few we have so far look good, thank God. We were so afraid of breakage. Our goal now is to categorize all his collected works and store them carefully wrapped. We will take photos of each piece and eventually offer some for sale either here or on a facebook page devoted to it, which is what we will probably do. I want anyone to know who is sad they missed out on Bob's pottery to feel at ease. We will have some available for purchase. We have way too much here for our own or our family's use and we want it all to be enjoyed and loved. It's going to be thrilling to open the boxes we haven't opened yet. I can't believe how much was stored. I'm grateful to my husband David who did so much work to get this project done. Jean's husband Larry was also a huge help, and so was Rick. My daughter Jorie Conner and her husband Dave also came and worked hard to help us clean out Bob's apartment at John's and the storage unit. Jorie and Dave took vacation time to come help us. They did get a chance to hike the Rockies before they had to go back home. Rick had to retrieve Bob's car, which was a huge task in itself. He was an angel coming to our aid at the shed for the final push. We had nothing to go by, no plans from Bob. He did give us the combination to the unit but never gave us names of who to turn to for help in a situation like this, so we did it on our own. It wasn't easy, but is done and we are all home and happy that part of the adventure is over. We worked well together even though we were intensely stressed by the circumstances and pain of losing Bob, who we always assumed would out-live us. So please watch here for updates concerning Bob's pottery. I'll post pics of available pieces as soon as I can, but am not sure where just yet. It will take some time. I was so blessed to have Bob as a brother. He inspired me in my art because he was so driven by his. I'm a painter and poet and my sister Jean is a pen and ink artist. Our mother developed that drive in us at a very early age. I'm ending here now, but will be back soon. I love and appreciate everyone in singleshikes simply because Bob loved you. If anyone needs to contact me through my other folder on facebook for now. I'll keep a close watch on it. Thank you all so much for being Bob's family here in Colorado. He loved you all. "
 
    - by Joan Baumgartner Williamson on 10/12/2015
 
 
"I just met bob recently (on a hike), and although I didn't really know him, I felt like I knew him my whole life. At the memorial, I realized he was like that for many people. What a gift. I sometimes wonder what real friendship is, and I saw that at the memorial. Bob knew how to be a real friend to so many people, and he did that through kindness, compassion, living life with gusto, being true to himself while accepting differences in others, and being able to share all of that (himself) with others. He was a lucky man who made his own luck and spread it around. How nice. "
 
    - by debbie walsh on 10/09/2015
 
 
"Bob would often call me and ask, *are you hiking*? He was such a caring sweetie, and it was the teacher in him too, always wanting to share his wisdom. We would go for short hikes/walks at lunch sometimes, and he loved to reminisce about the past, about hikes or trips to Utah we did together... *remember that time you and Chris and I discovered that water hole and we all dunked our heads in it?*... and he'd go on and on about how wonderful it was, and laugh that wonderful laugh of his! I don't think I've ever met anyone who embodied such an un-materialistic life-style with such a passion for nature, such a gentle spirit and a love for people, more than Bob. I sure am going to miss him..."
 
    - by Judi Dressler on 10/09/2015
 
 
"Bob liked to be off the trail. I think "off the trail" is a good description of Bob. He lived his life in that manner. John and I enjoyed having Bob living in John's basement. We would visit when he returned from hiking or potting, he always had interesting facts to share. He studied widely and was very astute. A pleasure to talk to. A good friend to us and to John's son Mike. He is profoundly missed. "
 
    - by Claire Martin on 10/08/2015
 
 
"The memorial was very nice. Thank you everyone who arranged it! It was nice seeing and meeting Bob's friends. I miss Bob tons. Driving home I was remembering how sweet he always was to me. We'd talk about everything! We'd have funny conversations about how neat some words were. He'd always comment about the moon, so we'd stop and stare at it. I know how lucky I am to have had all the great times I shared with him. "
 
    - by Maliheh Jabbari on 10/08/2015
 
 
"The world would be a better place if there were more Bobs."
 
    - by Carol on 10/07/2015
 
 
"Damian Cucinell
Woodland Wonder
Unable to sleep well, I wake at 5am, muddle around my apartment and put on hiking pants and a t-shirt. Listless, I brood about God, the fucking world, philosophy, civilization and why people embody so much intrinsic evil. My tense shoulders and fisted palms feel as if they can never battle my inner turmoil alone. Trancelike, I bump against my counter tops and stove and cram my water bottle, gaters and jacket into my backpack. After rummaging around my fridge and devouring charred eggs, onions with marinara sauce, I hope time will pass. Bleary and agitated, I gulp down my psych meds, stare outside my front window for 10 minutes, grab my gear and exit sniffling to a cool hazy morning.
Karen, one of Bob’s Single’s Hikers drives a 2010 Nissan Murano, I swing side to side as the vehicle bends sharp along Boulder Canyon road. Wheeling and gliding over a few crests and rises we later dirt crunch onto Hall Ranch trailhead parking. Though I just want to hike and my legs already ache from the confined ride, Bob, an experienced hiker and trip leader demands that we circle together to introduce ourselves. Mumbling my name, telling where I’m from and making up my occupation, I relax when we finally break our huddle. Bob warns us not to trip along the way, get lost or ditch the group.
“Maybe that’s what we want to do,” mutters Jim a tall beaming scruffy friend of Bob’s.
“…a lot happens when you are in the woods,” he continued. “Bobbing about the broad backwoods besides Bob,” he sputters as we stride up from our nestled parking lot. From the trailhead we lumber into a verdant arboreal paradise. I gaze and dart my head as I peer up at the streaming bands of light and misty aura of the woody preserve. Cassin’s Finches and Western Tanagers fly and chirp about and Least Chipmunks and Pikas scurry near my feet. I swallow my throat, careen my head and eye’s everywhere and preen my ears to the sounds of the enchanted forest, then hear an unfamiliar but goose bumpy silence. Blinking his eyes and looking up, Jim blurts, “Wow, it looks like we’ve entered magical fairyland. Bob, what was in that soda you gave me?”
“Acid, no …carbonic or phosphoric…I forget ” Bob snickers.
Listening to them I halt, then hearing a swift whistle I follow the bantering cadre. Stepping after the boot heel of Karen, I stumble down form this timbered wonderland. Up onto a dry grassy sun beamed field we saunter heads bobbing, hair dancing and shoulder shrugging. We march footstep to footstep as my body gets familiar with and my senses enjoy the rhythm of our cadence. “Check it out,” Bob points to an intimidating peak above us.
“Check who out,” Jim snides.
Lifting my head, I exhale a ‘shit’. I lean back, widen my eyes and gaze at the indominitable mountain. Hearing Jim holler “Hey Bob, aren’t we going to climb K-2,” and Bob respond, “No way, you won’t sherpa and you’re heavy breathing will suck all our oxygen,” I stop and laugh. Karen, grabbing my hips, twists me around and tosses her hand toward my new direction, “See silly.” My muscles twitch to grasp her while my thighs and knees steady me. Down there sat Denver, Boulder and all their subsidiaries, a cluster of texture horizon under a blue open sky. Never having seen that, I arch my head and stood there. Tugging my jacket, she reminds me to follow the others through a broad rift of tall golden wavy fescue grass. As we edge up to the other side of that vast meadow, I can feel the incline, the open air, the sun at my back and the thirst satiating patches of snow up ahead. We amble to a bouldered ridge and drop our packs. I sit sprawling amidst the others. With the flies flitting, the sun shining, my legs languishing, I gulp my water. I gaze up through my glassy eyes and I open my mouth but have nothing to say. Then feeling a soft kick in the hip from Jim to get me going, I spit, declaring “I could actually live with myself here.”
“Damn, I, myself, could actually eat shit and screw here,” Jim asserted. We continue climbing, zig zagging and huffing ourselves on top a round promontory. Scurrying over its northeastern side, Bob rambles our gabbing, gossiping cadre toward an unexpected Aspen grove. Karen, Jim, Bob and I echo a wow and grin with others as we twirl, mingle and gambol amongst the huge gilded Aspen. We plod, poke, and lounge around the musty woodland while the shadow and light play down from the tree tops and the woody smell and shiny blond, the crimson, lavender further dizzying us. Some of the women collect brilliant leaves. Others pick Yellow Jack mushrooms and dig among the bushes for Purple Iris. I stand wide-eyed, blinking. Jim peers into me, “Yep, Damian, these trees came with the territory. Things just happen when you get out...”
“Out of your mind,” Bob responds.
“Out of my britches, “Jim returns.
“Out of her place,” Bob clinches.
Bob gazes about the entire forest, “Wow, have you ever seen anything so magnificent?”
Jim, “I wish I were that erect.” Bob photographs the largest trees with his cell phone, “you can even see them shimmer in the wind.”
“I shimmer when I wind,” Jim snorts.
Slaloming through four massive Aspen, Jim harks, “Argh, shiver me timbers, I think ‘Ah Spen’ too much on a Bob hike.” We heave ourselves up, brush off the leaves and dirt from our behinds and collect onto the trial again. Jim beams from behind. “Remember, Damian, attention to life, attention to detail, attention to the girls.”
As we skip along and out of the Aspen forest, Karen trips on a root spurning Bob to preach that we ‘focus on each step’, and yet my face squints and contorts at the simplicity of this statement. Over a wide ledge we trek left, with the sun now overhead and the short thatch and boulder strewn landscape growing more abundant. Before long, Karen and the women request a bathroom break and laughing tell Bob, Jim, and I to ‘take a hike,’ that they will catch up.
Bob, Jim and I stroll further until we approach a fork in the trial ahead of us. I stumble and stare at the emergence of three girls entering our trail from the right. “Focus on each step, Damian,” Bob requests. “Thanks,” I pout. “Yeah, but first he’s got to make it to first base,” Jim smirks. A brunette with two blonds resounds a cheerful ‘Hi’ before mixing with the three of us. She waves a smile that impresses me. My lips and eyes bend and my face hues. A few steps behind Jim I stammer a “hello,” while Bob sneaks a grin at Jim. We continue pacing forward until Bob slips, “we were earlier commenting how our hike was so beautiful, but now we are even more impressed.”
“Oh…
“Where you girls from?”
“We came from Sleepy Lion trailhead.”
“C.U.?”
“Yeah,” the brunette brightens. Watching her hop over a few boulders, I check my stagger.
“I’m Bob and this is my Single’s Hike –I do this every Sunday… I’ve climbed all the fourteeners.”
I fix my ears and twitch while she steadies herself over a few rocks and exhales a ‘cool’. Glancing back, Bob inquires whether they are heading for Bierstadt, a nearby fourteener.
“No, we don’t have all weekend to wander the woods like you guys.”
“We don’t hike the woods all the time…”
“Yeah,” jumps Jim, “and most of us, unlike Bob, do get civilized now and then.”
The brunette and a large blond eye each other and chuckle. Sauntering through thatch bushes, felled pines and thistles, Bob and Jim start, stop and struggle to keep the girls talking. A cool breeze brushes my sweaty forehead from behind and a trickling sound of an approaching creek fills my odd silence as I smile chest out at Bob’s and Jim’s repartee. The brunette and blonds wink and nod each other as Bob gesticulates, points and appears to move his lips bus lengths ahead of me. Amid a few forestalling seconds, as Bob stops us to peruse the scenery, the girls dart, pass and bounce down towards the little creek and bridge. After they sally across with a gigantic waveform the brunette, we look on, wave and slump. Kicking a stone with my boot, my arms fall free and my pack pulls me backward. “Who can you ever pick up,” mumbles Bob. My eyes traverse form Bob to Jim. From distant trees we hear a giggle. “Oh, they’re laughing at Bob,” Jim chides.
“Yeah, they want me to cross that bridge.” “What bridge?” interjects Karen with the women who have finally caught up. “I should have been more liberal with them,” I rustle and cough behind Jim.
“You can always go more to the right,” he snips. To keep us ambling, Bob swings his arm forward and marches us further onto a rising brae, down through scrubby gullies and up monolithic crags. We stride upside a browned hill and down its boulder laden and thicketed backside. I almost sneer and wince at the throbbing heaviness in my legs. Jovial, Bob leads us to his hidden rocky perch overlooking a jumbled terrace of falls. Sore and sweaty we flop on top of Bob’s secret ledge. A little slump, I grumble and curse as droplets and sunlight pound my forehead. I feel as if some of the women are watching me through eye lit gaps and corners. Seeking refreshment, coolness and solace, I drag my pack to me and guzzle some water and admire the waterfall. The gushing cascade out-roars the troupe’s entire conversation. Bob, waving me close bellows, “Look upon those falls and peer into them and tell me what you see.” Receiving a tug from the cataract and a cool breeze from its wind, I bear my face and lean my torso into the monotonous echo. The swirling eddies, bubbling pools, laminar flows, shooting streams, trickling droplets mix to massage me. Gurgling, the terraces and turbulent plunges draw mw into their chaotic mesmerizing vortex. The heterogeneous bounce, bounce, hop-hopping mass of distributive shape’s, and movement’s play and dance, invites and soothes my schizophrenic angst. In feeling mirrored by this churning, I want to let go, and tell Bob I want to drink from this river and forget. He reminds of giardia. Frowning a bit, I feel my anger flush. Tantalizing and mellowing me, I find I cannot budge from this sympathetic cascade until Bob slaps me on the shoulder.
“You can’t take it with you,” he chuckles. I raise my head, turn it aside and look up at him and the group. They had all put on their packs and were staring at me with ineffable grins.
“Gotta go,” Bob thumbs, whereby I saddle my now weightless pack onto my shoulders. We leave the falls and veer into the stony brush and stride down an undulating and meandering trail. We enter a rich open field of fescue, cross it and grin at its familiarity. Within this saffron field, the ladies pull grain chaff from their seedheads and dump them on Bob’s cap. Curious and gaffing, I grab some, smell them and let them drop. We step onto a miniature bluff from the grassy pasture and wedge into a cluster of quaint dense welcoming trees. Charming with its vibrant greenery, we wander, reaching, touching, clasping, and then like a ship into easy docking, descend into our little parking lot.
With the settling sun shining in increments upon us, we kick and pat the mud and dirt off our pants and shoes.
Bob winks “How was that?” He turned to the hikers who gave each other a round of applause.
Jim sighs, “Why do people need drugs?”
“Why do people need God, philosophy, hate and civilization?,” I smile feeling the full weight of my pack and my brooding collapse. I laugh, drink deep from my water bottle and after looking up to feel the warm rays of the evening sun upon me, breathe easier, then see Bob salute with his calloused and wrinkly hand crop against his weathered forehead. "
 
    - by Damian Cucinell on 10/07/2015
 
 
"Bob was one of the kindest people I've ever met. This spring I struggled to keep up, but he welcomed me anyway. I told him then that my goal for the summer was to get up to Black Lake. When I finally got fit enough, he scheduled that Black Lake hike for me. He was a treasure and I will miss him."
 
    - by Adrianne Middleton on 10/07/2015
 
 
"I always enjoyed the hikes with Bob. And, I met my wife-to-be (we are now engaged and happy as can be) on one of his hikes earlier this year. He has touched an amazing number of lives in a great way - not many people have had such a positive impact on so many other people. He will be very very missed. "
 
    - by Dane on 10/06/2015
 
 
"Whatever you do (in life): FOES it please! Focus on each Step! "
 
    - by Damian Cucinell on 10/06/2015
 
 
"Bob-isms: *Isn't it a beautiful day?* Usually said several times during a hike. And, the perennial:*we've never had this exact hiking group before, isn't that amazing?* When I left Boulder I said there would be only 3 people I would miss, Bob was one of them, however I imagined I would see him again. . . "
 
    - by Suzan on 10/05/2015
 
 
"Ten year ago, as a Midwest flatlander, I came to CO totally unfamiliar with mountain hiking and trails. I immediately joined Bob's group and we became good friends, hiking almost weekly for years. His knowledge of hiking will be missed as I owe him for the training I received. "
 
    - by Craig A Perman on 10/05/2015
 
 
""Let's stop and enjoy the beauty" He never rushed. Bob taught me the joys of hiking at night. I met my wife on a night hike (#1117) the Friday after Thanksgiving 1999. Thanks Bob! "
 
    - by Bill Gibson on 10/05/2015
 
 
"I enjoyed the times my twin sister and I would invite Bob over for dinner. One time we spent hours in the bathroom taking ridiculous group selfies in the 3 way mirror. Don't worry, we were all fully clothed! Ha! He would make some of the funniest expressions. I miss him SO much. I wish I could've said goodbye to him. "
 
    - by Mandy Koehn on 10/05/2015
 
 
"On the very early hikes (1990 -1994) Bob had a deal with the Greek Family that ran Vulot's restaurant. We would go there after an evening hike and all be fed a wonderful dinner for FREE. Both Mama and Papa just loved Bob and his friends were their friends. "
 
    - by JIm Boeck on 10/05/2015
 
 
"Group Hug"
 
    - by Jamie Edwards on 10/05/2015
 
 
"Bob loved to laugh, and I love to remember that laugh, with the little gap between his two front teeth! "
 
    - by Judi on 10/04/2015
 
 
"My sister and I shared many great memories with Bob! We had a lot of fun together. We went out to eat often and I will never forget the time when we were in China Gourmet and he was on the floor showing us some of his exercises. We were laughing so hard he almost had us on the floor too! He definitely loved to laugh, loved to eat, and loved to take lots of pictures!!"
 
    - by Melissa Koehn on 10/04/2015

 


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Hiking Bob