Saturday June 4
A Party to Say Thank You and Farewell
Note: The original link to Annie’s video (see below) didn’t work, so I’ve replaced that link with a new one. Several people have tested the new link and were able to view the video. Enjoy!
After Saturday’s hike, friends old and new gathered at Roger’s beautiful home to say thank you and goodbye to Ithaca Hikers’ longtime leaders Stephen and Susan Hesse, who are moving to Rhode Island to be closer to family. We didn’t do an official head count, but multiple people estimated that more than 50 current or former hikers dropped by.
Since taking over organization of the group in 2004, Stephen and Susan have expanded the number of weekly hikes, scouted out dozens of perfectly timed two-hour hikes throughout our region, and helped to organize social events beyond time spent on the trails. They always welcomed new hikers with grace and enthusiastic interest, making newcomers feel part of the group from their very first hike.
Stephen has compiled an illustrated history of the Ithaca Hikers. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth your time.
Saturday afternoon was the sort of beautiful spring day we’re lucky to experience in Ithaca. The day was sunny and pleasantly warm, with a lively breeze. At the party, guests made good use of the grills available for cooking. Guests were encouraged to bring their own food and drink, but many brought food to share.
People socialized for about an hour before Roger asked for everyone’s attention. He and several others shared memories of Stephen and Susan–times shared, recollections of specific hikes, and reminiscences of what made hiking with Stephen and Susan so much fun. It was remarkable to take stock of what the Hesses had built–the friends, the laughter, the shared memories, the echoes of Stephens loud “YO!” to get everyone’s attention–and to know that Ithaca Hikers is still going strong. We will miss them, but we will carry their legacy far into the future.
The party continued through the afternoon, with guests enjoying the pond and a clambake.
Hiker, photographer, singer, and all-around extraordinary person Annie W. compiled a video with photos she took over a period of several years, set to a soundtrack performed by Choir of the Earth (with Annie a participating singer). It is a beautiful and moving tribute, and you can view it here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8XeMGcGW3XMxRLMk6 (If you don’t immediately see the Play button, look for it in the upper right corner.) The singing is gorgeous, and the photos really capture the essence of our group. Thank you, Annie!
And thank you, Stephen and Susan, for everything you’ve done for the Ithaca Hikers. You created something remarkable and nurtured it into a strong and thriving group. It has meant so much to every one of us who have been lucky enough to hike with you. We wish you much happiness as you set out on your next trail!