It started with a last wish from Vic to his mother, Roxane, and ended with alumni, friends, relatives, coaches and first-time hikers reaching the peak of Mt. Marcy to celebrate Vic’s life and love of the outdoors on a beautiful warm August afternoon.
Victor Krivitski, a student at Colgate, lost his hard-fought battle with cancer and passed away in August 2011. His summer past-time hikes with his mother led her to plan a tribute hike this August, and together with Terry Haas, Roxane invited Colgate students, alumni, friends and all others to participate.
As a friend of Vic’s, I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle my emotions, but I knew I need-ed to make this important journey, this pilgrimage of sorts. I packed my bags, headed up north and soon found myself in the wonderful backwoods of the Adirondacks. From here followed many stories, much physical exertion and incredible bonding. Our group came from different walks of life and from all over the East Coast, each with our own unique con-nection to Vic. I felt so lucky, so honored, to be a part of this tribute.
On the morning of August 25, our group set out to climb Mt. Marcy, the mountain Vic and his mom had always wanted to climb together – And they were finally doing it! We all helped carry a bit of Vic up the ascent. He was in our hearts and minds – I sensed his presence and I felt at ease for the first time since his passing. One by one, we all reached the peak, and together we settled down for a little reflection.
Roxane read passages from Vic’s notebook, gave us all slices of avocado (his favorite) and shared special stories and memories of times she spent with Vic. It was a moving and beautiful ceremony, highlighted by a number of alumni who made it up the peak and met up with us in time to share in the celebration. With a final goodbye, we headed back down the mountain and ended our journey, backpacking out the next day.
For those of you who may venture to ascend Marcy, we left a plaque with Vic’s name on a cairn. You can find it nestled in with the rocks other hikers stacked onto the peak. We encour-age you to find it and spend a moment with Vic, or come with us next year, as Roxane plans to make a yearly tribute to the Adirondacks to carry on her hikes with Victor. Thanks to all who made it this time around.