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Snapshot: Hikers Helping Hikers

Posted by Joseph Gonzalez at Apr 14, 2023 10:00 AM |

"Where" and "when" are memorable parts of any hike, but "who" and how they made you feel sticks with you forever. Doug Diekema reflects on capturing a touching moment with family while on trail. By Doug Diekema.

Being in remote and wild places puts me in my happy place and brings peace and calm to my busy life. I love exploring new places, particularly more remote places accessed by trails that are a little less busy. I really enjoy sharing the experience of these special places with friends and family. For the past 20 years, my cousin has visited from Michigan every September for a 3-5 day backpacking trip. For both of us, it has been a highlight of each year.

Two hikers fist bump to show support after a tough climb. They wear backpacks on a mountain ridge. Photo by Doug Diekema.
Nathan and Chuck fist bump to show support after a tough climb. Photo by Doug Diekema.

This photo was taken on a trip to Horseshoe Basin in the Pasayten Wilderness. What made this trip particularly special was that it was the first time my son joined us on our annual adventure. The three of us had a wonderful time connecting as we explored the basin, scrambled up the surrounding peaks and ate dinner in camp on a couple really cold nights. 

My cousin, Chuck, had struggled on the uphill grades on this trip. Our last day started with the climb out of Horseshoe Basin to Sunny Pass. My very fit college-age son, Nathan, packed up and headed for the pass, dropped his pack, and came back to meet my cousin who was about half way up, relieving him of his pack. I was following a bit behind when I saw them at the pass. My cousin had just put his pack back on and was fist bumping Nathan to thank him for the help.

I’m grateful I caught the moment on film. It’s a memory of my trail family, and it reminds me of how friendships and connections are deepened and enriched by time on the trail.

— Doug Diekema, photographer and Northwest Exposure Photo Contest judge

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.