Dedicated to a loved Spirit who has walked along in our lives

Christopher E. Douglass

August 25, 1979 - May 31, 2008
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Tumbledown





State of Mind
Dreams in Action - Marshall Ulrich

Badwater 2009 with Marshall Ulrich

Trail Monsters
A Note from Marshall Ulrich

Hello, my name is Marshall Ulrich. I’m honored to tell some stories about Chris because I feel, as you all do, that it was a privilege to know and love Chris, if even for a very short time. 

One day in May my phone rang and on the other end was an enthusiastic voice that said “you don’t know me, but my name is Christopher Douglass… I’m going to walk from Colorado to Maine starting at the end of the month! Would you have time to meet me sometime before I leave?” Now, I must say, I don’t get that type of phone call every day. My reply was, “I would be happy to meet with you, Chris.” Why?  Because I sensed that this person had a thirst, a thirst for life that went beyond the ordinary. It was obvious to me that he wanted the extraordinary from life, all that it could give…that nothing less would do. I was intrigued.

We made arrangements to meet at a little café in Idaho Springs called Café Aimee, it’s funny how life is, so many coincidences…no, that is not the right word. What I mean to say is that everything, every person that we meet has a purpose and is part of an order in or lives. Chris would have an impact on me, more than I would on him.

When we met, we talked for hours about we both did best: exploring with unbridled freedom. Chris told me about trying to settle into a traditional job in Denver after he had done a motorcycle ride from Maine to Arizona. He told me: “My mind kept drifting back to sleeping under the stars on the side of the road, digging in my backpack for some change for gas….how much happier I was those days.” As Chris’ sister, Beth, explained to us today: Chris liked money, but he could push it way too. That to Chris the reason for having money was to buy experience. Buying quality equipment, like things from L.L. Bean, was important, *if* those things brought experience and learning into your life. Although Beth is older than Chris, she said that he had accelerated past her in experience. And, he used that experience to teach her so much… something that she will miss, but will be forever grateful for.

After telling me about his motorcycle ride, Chris continued talking about his job and his feeling that something wasn’t right.  He said, “We’re all striving for happiness, right?  So why do we purposely make ourselves miserable every day?  Why do we put off happiness until retirement?” Chris said, “The best I can figure is that we’ve been told too many times that adventure just isn’t in the cards for everyday folk like you and me. It’s reserved for the people we read about in books and magazines, or watch on TV and Indiana Jones movies, not mere mortals like us. Well I’m not buying it.”

I suspected then and there that Chris was an artist. When I met his parents, Jerry and Linda, last night, they showed me his guitars and told me about his playing and writing music. Yep, Chris was an artist – but more than with just music. Chris talked about his passion, talking to other people, writing in his journals, and making movie shorts.  We made arrangements to meet again at my house as Chris wanted to do a short film to put on his Small World Treks Web site.  I thought to myself, “I know this person, and I know he has talent” and so I asked him if he would be interested in making a movie trailer for Running America – a transcontinental run that I’m planning to do starting August 8th.  I was thrilled when he said yes. So, Chris came up to our house above Idaho Springs where my wife Heather and I live. Chris knew exactly what he was doing. There were no double takes, just interaction between the two of us.  It was like I had known him all my life.  We understood each other, talked the same language.   Then it was my turn. We sat with the video camera running and talked about his upcoming trek.  He was so excited to get started! He talked about the thrill of meeting new, interesting people. Chris said that he thought that both the beginning and the end of his trip would be filled with anticipation…at the beginning, the anticipation of what the journey would be like…how would he get through it all? Anticipation at the end of taking those last few steps up Tumbledown Mountain, reaching the crest, and looking over to see the lake in the bowl. Even though he’d been there many time before –  with his grandma, his mom, his friend Glen, his sister Beth… and to scatter the ashes of his best friend, his dog Shiva – he was stilled excited about the opportunity to end his trek at the top of Tumbledown!  

As he drove away from our home that day, my wife said, “Now I know why you connected with Chris right-away – that’s what you must have been like…I feel like I just met you, when you were 28.”

In some uncanny way, Heather was right. Even words that Chris wrote, I have written, with slight variations, but with the same feelings. Chris wrote that as he sprinted the last mile of his first marathon, “The tears in my eyes wouldn’t have felt so good if not for the anguish of the first twenty five miles”…and “I realized the happiest moments of my life had always arrived in the midst of hardship and suffering. With suffering comes happiness.” I have often written of the importance of suffering. Of what we can learn from it. But, Chris understood that at 28…. I’m kind of a slow learner, and only really figured that one out in my 50s.

Chris finished my video on Friday, and it was fantastic! Then, Saturday night I received a message on my cell phone from Linda. She said that she needed to talk to me.  I closed the phone and I told Heather that it was Chris’ mother. We said that she must either be really mad at me for encouraging him in his non-traditional exploits, or she is going to thank me for supporting him. We arrived home shortly after and the message on that phone was the horrifying news, Chris had been killed in a head on collision.  I dropped the phone in shock watching as Heather fell slumped in a pool of tears. We had just spoken to Chris that morning, minutes before he and Ame were hit…and I can tell you this, he was flying high, high on life. Heather asked the question “why would God bring him into our lives for such a short period of time, just to take him away?” If  Chris were here, he would likely say; these are not questions that we as “mere mortals” can answer.

To me Chris was as Icarus is in Greek mythology. Icarus grew exhilarated by the thrill of flying and was warned that flying too close to the sun-god Helios, the wax holding his wings together would melt from the heat. Chris was not afraid to fly close to the sun, as it challenged him and made him feel alive. Because, if you don’t fly close to the sun, how can you feel its warmth? That warmth fed his soul. Now Chris has spread his heavenly wings and is flying high in the warmth of the sun with that unbridled freedom that he so much yearned for….his thirst is finally being quenched.  He was extraordinary and will be missed. I will hold him in my heart forever.

Marshall Ulrich

 

 
Note from Glen Giasson
Note from Jean Abradi
Note from Jamie Anderson
Note from Yuliya
Note from Abby Kesilman
Note from Marshall Ulrich
Note from Luc
 
Tribute from the Trail Monsters
Bradbury Scuffle
Tribute from Art Jones
 


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Memory Page

Running with Chris

Some friends told us of their Running with
Chris in Mind.
How Great is That?

Linda Douglass
Jean Abradi
Ryan Abradi

Judy Castonguay
Matt Escorsio
Glen Giasson
David Huish
Abby Kesilman
Trail Monsters
Marshall Ulrich
Yuliya Zinnatullina

Videos By Chris