Wally (Diana's Father) Given Memorial Tribute
On Saturday, 28 May, a gathering of jeepers ascended Little Bald Mountain (a mountain just east of Mount Raineer) to give tribute to the memory of Diana's father, Orville Wallace (Wally) Larson who with his wife Marcella founded the Lower Valley Canyon Crawlers, a jeep club that continues to roam the Naches area and other areas of Washington State. Wally passed away 5 years ago, and now his ashes were to be distributed on this mountaintop as he had requested. He frequently visited this site with the spectacular 360-degree views it provides, and he helped build the cabin there, which provides a safe protected refuge to those who reach this summit area in inclement weather or in the deep snows of winter.
Wally was an avid jeeper and snowmobiler and truly enjoyed this kind of outdoor recreation, and he particularly enjoyed the many friends who participated in these activities with him. He was an imposing figure, standing at 6 foot 8 inches, and he towered over everyone. His exterior demeanor could be outwardly gruff at times and he could chop you down a few notches, but only if he knew you well. Most people, however, could see past his domineering presence and see the warmth in his heart. He liked to engage in conversation with everyone, especially with a beer in hand. As a painter by trade, his added height gave him a definite advantage in that field of work. And his hard work provided him and his wife Marcella a nice retirement with a mountain home next to the Naches River and a back door to a life of jeeping in the back woods.
This particular day started out warm and beautiful, and when the procession of about 15 jeeps reached the top of Little Bald Mountain, it was short sleeve weather without a breath of wind. Mount Rainier was standing in the near distance in its glacier-covered majesty with forests and mountain peaks as far as you could see. It was a perfect day and a perfect occasion to honor Wally. Everyone gathered around to see the small memorial that friends had constructed a couple of days earlier and they stood there to contemplate the memory of Wally. Then the grandchildren and great grandchildren walked a few feet to the very top of the mountain and let the ashes of Wally drift softly to the ground where his spirit will continue to reside. This was not a sad day, but one of celebration.
After an hour or so, it was time to move on. Some lingered to further take in the magnificent views, some headed to "base camp" (Marcie's home) in the valley below, and some started off to do some off road back country jeepin on the same trails where Wally once led the way.
Toward the late afternoon in 90-degree weather, everyone was regrouped at Marcie's home where all enjoyed a great potluck dinner outside behind the house and next to the cool river. Wally would have enjoyed this day; the fresh mountain air with wonderful views, family and friends gathered together who he loved so much, jeepin through the woods with challenging obstacles to maneuver around, great food, beer, and stimulating conversation about the days events and stories of jeepin the trails around his home on the Naches River in the mountains of Washington State. It was only Saturday, and the fun was just beginning on this long holiday weekend. Tomorrow and Monday would bring more of the same.