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My Best Day: I decided I must go back to the falls and honor my friend James

By on December 24, 2018 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments

Hiking buddy Byron Scott planted James’ ski poles overlooking the falls and said a prayer.

By Byron Scott

I first met James in 1996, at Bethel Church, in Richland. We shared common interests: our faith in Jesus Christ, nordic skiing, camping and hiking.

Thus began a friendship that covered plenty of miles and 22 years.

Three months after meeting him I relocated to East Wenatchee. Yet in spite of the greater distance between us, and getting married to my wife in 2002, we continued to travel together around the Northwest many times a year.

Several years ago, James moved to East Wenatchee. Now only living a mile away, it was easier to plan our outdoor journeys. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest was one of our favorite places and we’d often drive five hours, set up camp, then hike into the forest searching for waterfalls.

In May 2016, we journeyed to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, looking for one of the highest rated waterfalls in the Northwest, according to our Northwest waterfall book: Falls Creek Falls.

I took photographs along the scenic 1.8-mile path, but nothing prepared us for the sight of the falls! The three-tiered falls is over 300 feet high from top to bottom, and the volume of water thundered as it hit the pool below.

A constant mist of water permeated our faces as we took in this majestic sight and we agreed: we must return!

May 2018 was supposed to be our return to Falls Creek Falls trip, but James discovered he would need shoulder surgery. It was decided, as soon as he was able to comfortably make the journey, we would go.

Three days after his outpatient surgery, a mutual friend and I tragically found James unresponsive in his apartment; it was one of the hardest days of my life.

In the days following his death, while we helped his brothers from Oregon load up his belongings, his older brother offered me

James’s nordic ski equipment. I wasn’t sure what I would do with it, since we were different sizes, but I graciously accepted.

At his memorial service in June, I shared various photographs in a slide show of our adventures over the years and was honored to read from the Bible, Proverbs 18:24, “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” I then declared aloud, “You have been that kind of friend, James.”

I decided I must go back to Falls Creek Falls and honor James in some way.

I made the trip on Sept. 27, 2018, arriving late in the afternoon. The weather seemed divinely good that day, and as I reached the observation point, I realized I had Falls Creek Falls all to myself.

After saying a prayer of thanksgiving for my friend James, I planted his Nordic ski poles in the dirt, facing the falls, and began taking photographs. I spent about 30 minutes alone before beginning the hike back to the trailhead, but it felt like James was right there with me.

My day at Falls Creek Falls, honoring my friend, James, was my best day of 2018.

Byron Scott is retired from the Bonneville Power Administration, and now enjoys playing fantasy football, investing in the stock market, encouraging others on Facebook, and connecting with people through Bible study and  food distribution  ministries. He is a Northwest outdoors enthusiast. If not hiking around the Northwest, you will find him in the gym at Mountain View Fitness or at home working in the yard.

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