Ranger Kathryn's Arches

May 14, 2010

The brothers: Why I love them so

John, Mike, Kathryn, and Ric -- Colestock siblings youngest to oldest. (Insert missing sisters left and right of John.)

While friendships come and go, sibling relationships endure forever. It’s the longest-lasting human relationship I can think of. A lifetime of shared memories binds siblings to one another.

The last time I spent a week with any brother, much less all three of them, was over two decades ago. Since so many of our childhood memories revolve around the outdoors, camping, and adventure, it was only appropriate that we could share Utah together. Their vacation out here warmed my heart and wore out my muscles. I love my brothers. I only wish that our two sisters could have joined us!

Here are some endearing things about my brothers:

  • always know where the can opener is
  • can read maps and use a compass
  • you should see Mike with a hatchet and firewood: master kindling-maker!
  • keep the beer companies in business
  • demonstrate an intimate awareness of the natural world
  • push me beyond my normal endurance
  • teach me new driving techniques on curvy roads
  • give me a hand up a tough scramble if I need/want it
  • there is nothing John can’t cook on a fire or Coleman stove
  • tell tall tales and expect me to laugh or groan
  • engage in photographic one-upsmanship: who can zoom in closer???
  • can jerry-rig anything, and I mean anything
  • endure my admonishments to put sunscreen on blistered red shoulders
  • finish the Sudoku for you when you’re stuck
  • demonstrate an intimate knowledge of campfire and wood dynamics
  • always carry spare batteries
  • you should see them in “all hands on deck” mode, e.g., in a windstorm with gear flying
  • Ric bequeathed me his trekking poles, which make hikes easier
  • who else would bring freshly-picked, dehydrated morel mushrooms for the camp glop??? Really!!
  • always have a Plan B in their minds
  • go shirtless on the trail, which I have envied since age 5
  • measure every blasted step on their GPS — distance AND elevation gain — and make sure I know each one after a hike
  • pick up litter on trails to earn their coveted Junior Ranger badges
  • wouldn’t let me stop and take refuge in alcove on the Chesler Park trail when rains came
  • abandon all semblance of manners when consuming camp meals
  • asked my Law Enforcement co-worker to handcuff me for a photo op, and then emailed it to family
  • point out all the desert blooms I miss in my haste and concentration
  • made their hands into heart shapes to say goodbye when driving away (awwww!)
  • every last one of them quit smoking!
  • have legendary bungee and tie-down skills
  • own every minimalist camping necessity known to man
  • maintain a positive attitude regardless of circumstances
  • introduce me as “our sister, the park ranger” (which I think they think is cool)

I think everybody should have brothers like mine.

John, doing what he does best, left-handedly

Mike demonstrates excellent hiking pole technique

Ric and his well-earned hot footbath after the 11.5-miler


  1. Kathryn, thanks for inviting me on one of your family adventures this week. Rick, thanks for giving me some “perspective” on one of my “hikes.” John, thanks for sharing your spicy venison links and Mike, thanks for helping Rick out of a “jam.”

    Comment by Ed Oak — May 14, 2010 @ 5:39 pm | Reply

  2. Fantastic

    Comment by Tom — May 14, 2010 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  3. sent by John from mom’s computer. Quite possibly the best week of camping I can recall…. thank you for being who you are, and thank you for sharing all of your wonderful Moabites with us…. You might think your week was special, but mine was specialer…… 🙂

    Comment by Mom — May 14, 2010 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  4. Wow, that sounded wonderful! Mike quit smoking too? That is unbelievable! I am impressed then. I am so glad that the bros and you had a great time sis. Wish we all could have done that. You know what I think? I think that the 8 of us and spouses if they want should do a camping trip somewhere here in MN…like up on the North Shore. That would be a hoot. Tell Mike that if he wants to join Becky, Dale and I in Itasca the beginning of July we have a pup tent for him.

    Love Sis

    Comment by chris — May 14, 2010 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  5. What a wonderful tribute to your brothers…….. and they were all touched by it, too. I’m so glad you had that week together. They are telling us it was the “trip of a lifetime” and each new hike (site) became the new “favorite” while they wondered how any could surpass what they’d already experienced.

    Comment by Mom — May 14, 2010 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

    • It was all that and more. Combine my inside knowledge of the area with their well-honed camping mega-skills, and how could it be anything less than spectacular?

      Comment by kath56ryn — May 14, 2010 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

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