This summer, Nicki and the kids have been able to carry Ben's ashes and his memory into some of the mountains that were dear to him. I write so that as Ben becomes a part of the mountains in their changing seasons, those who wish to are able to commune with the part of him you hold, in the wildness that he loved.
In Alaska, Nicki was able to spread a portion of Ben's ashes on the top of Bear Mountain, the peak overlooking their home in Chugiak and a frequent haunt of Ben's. She began a rock cairn for him, to which friends and family have since been able to add. If you would like to do the same, follow the trail up the mountain, staying left after summiting, to what he called the "Lunch Rocks". Looking out from there towards the inlet, you are able to see his cairn at a natural point, a short distance away, jutting up slightly to your left. Many of us have written a note on the rocks we carried up the mountain for Ben.
For the young, or just young at heart, a legacy geocache has been created near Ben's cairn. Remember to bring a very small trinket to replace what you remove.
If instead you find yourself in Idaho, you can trace the Schneider family's steps up to Snowslide Lake, outside of McCall. Take a dip in the lake as Ben has and would have done, and Nicki did to pay him tribute. It was here Ben shared a piece of his youth with his own children in teaching them to fly fish. You will see him everywhere.
As the pandemic continues to alter our lives, there are no further plans for a public celebration of life for this man we were all favored to know and continue to love. There are a few more tributes by different parties in the works, so I will revisit caringbridge as needed, but again–thank you all for your magnanimity of heart. Stay safe and be well as we carry this grief forward the rest of our own days, together.