Awoke last night 1 December about 2:30 am for unknown reason. Minutes later the iPad beeps with a text message. Jeanne texted me that the son of a friend was killed in Washington state kayaking. As is his mother, Pam, I considered Xavier Engle a friend. Now add him to the growing list of friends who I have known and they died tragically pushing the limits. (John from Colorado college, Mt. Blanca, Peter Mackeith, Snow White mountain in Alaska, John Waterman on Denali and acquaintances Peter in the Himalayas, Bruce Hickok on peak 3 out of Anchorage) the list is way too long.
Xavier Engle was 24 when he died on the Stillaguamish river Sunday the 30 November. I first met Xavier when he was less than five years old. Pam had adopted him and over the years friends stepped in as father figures. His life appeared balanced whatever that is. He was introduced to kayaking I believe in his early teens and he took to it. Over the years he obviously became very good judging by the rivers, waterfalls and multitude of accomplishments. And he excelled academically, graduating from Dartmouth.
In 2007 I had the privilege of floating the Grand Canyon with Xavier. Enthusiasm does not begin to describe his personality, His love of the water and rivers was infectious, and was always willing to help out with a problem.
No one wants to die when they are 24, whether it be doing what you want or whatever. Xavier was pushing the envelope and that is always risky. He knew the risks and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Unfortunately, and I do not know the circumstances, those risks came with the cost.
We lost not only the enthusiasm of Xavier, but the potential he dreamed of. He once said he admired his mother greatly for her working to help the less fortunate. He was working toward being a doctor, not for the money, but the ability to help.
I will remember Xavier for his enthusiasm and love of the rivers and kayaking. His abilities to push the limits were awesome. And when I look at the pictures of the waterfall we hiked to a few weeks ago in Chile I will think of Xavier as I was describing Xavier to those I was hiking with snd how he loved things like that.
No parent should ever have to bury their child. Pam Engle should be incredibly proud. She made the world a far better place by raising Xavier. My thoughts go with Pam.
And the ongoing world chose today 2 December to bring into the world Ties Marias, grandson of very proud Maria and Hanne. He weighed in at 3500 grams and from what we here through limited email he is doing well.