Peter Lewis will always be a special person in the hearts of every Backcountry Corpsmember and staff who ever had the honor of knowing him. After David Muraki, who established the program, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that our friend Peter shaped Backcountry Trails more than anybody else in the history of the program. Yo2 loved the week that he and Cheryl took to spend with us. Before they left, Peter took the time to write in our crew journal. I would imagine that he wrote in every crew’s journal. This is how he ended his entry with Yo2, 1987:
This is special land to me. When I first came out west 17 years ago, I got a job on a trail crew that was stationed near Merced Lake. This was my first taste of the mountains. It changed my life, and taught me what was really important. That same magic is working on all of you. You are the ones who haven’t quit when it got tough. Help each other learn from the mountains. You will get so much more out of the weeks ahead. You are the lucky ones. Stay healthy & enjoy the Backcountry!
Your friend, Peter
It had been 17 years since Peter had come to the mountains. It has been 27 years since he wrote that. That’s enough to make a guy feel old!
And I also note that he signed off with ‘your friend’. That’s how he closed every letter he sent to me. I imagine that’s how he closed most letters to any of his Backcountry Corpies. And in each and every case, he meant it.
We miss you, Peter.