While paddling my Hornbeck canoe, I experienced the wonderfully diverse variety of native plants that beautify our waterways, and I soon grew obsessed with learning all I could about them. This led to my need to photograph them, which next led to my need to start this blog to showcase my photos, which ultimately introduced me to a larger community of wildflower enthusiasts and professional botanists from all over the country, who have since become some of my dearest friends.
I counted Pete among my friends, as I'm sure hundreds of others have as well. Pete's gracious and cheerful hospitality made every visit to his place of business a memorable event. He built a business that provided great joy to his many customers as well as meaningful jobs for his fellow Adirondackers, in a region where such good jobs are hard to find. He also dedicated his life to preserving the kind of wilderness that those of us who love nature would want to paddle into.
What a guy! I will never forget him. He died last week, quite unexpectedly, after enjoying an outdoor walk with those he loved best, his family. My heart goes out to his loving family most of all. But I know that many, many others also grieve the loss of this good man.
UPDATE: While pondering some of the life-changing consequences my little Hornbeck canoe has meant for me, I delighted to recall the first fellow Hornbecker/plant enthusiast I met through my blog, the noted Adirondack naturalist Evelyn Greene, now one of my dearest friends. We first met back in August of 2009 to paddle together a stretch of the Hudson River at Moreau, where Evelyn introduced me to the marvelous world of mosses. To see how many outstanding adventures followed since then, just type "Evelyn" into my blog's search bar and prepare to be amazed! Of all my accounts of our many outings together (on land or on water, and especially on frazil ice!), I think there is one that exemplifies the kind of wilderness adventure our lightweight Hornbeck canoes made possible for us "ladies of a certain age." The post from August, 2011, is called "Bog-hopping, Bushwhacking: Three Old Broads and Their Boats." Check it out!