Hard to believe it’s been a year: scholars, musicians and another trek

One year ago, I began the greatest journey of my life, a 500-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago. It was a personal challenge and a time of great peace and reflection. I am so grateful to all of you who shared my walk, supporting me with daily messages of encouragement and love. Since a year has passed, I thought it was time for an update.

First, I’d like to announce that on Thursday, the first two Sam Deford Scholars graduated from the University of Colorado. This is the scholarship program that was funded by your heartfelt and generous contributions. Both graduates are members of CU’s Collegiate Recovery Center, which provided them with resources and personal support in dealing with substance use challenges. Devin, who graduated with a degree in Biochemistry, plans to go into the medical field. Sean is a Chemical Engineering graduate, who will begin a PhD program this fall. I am incredibly proud of these young men. They have achieved academic success, while overcoming great obstacles. In speaking with them, it became clear how important the scholarships were in relieving the pressure they faced with the demands of school, work and continuing recovery.

In another update, I heard recently from Zach Lambert. Zach is the young musician whom we entrusted with Sam’s prized possession, his Paul Reed Smith guitar. (See August 17, 2018 post) He is now studying jazz guitar at Towson University. He’s loving it and performing every chance he gets. Zach reports that he plays Sam’s guitar for up to 9 hours a day. People often ask him about the instrument, which is a striking blue green. He tells them Sam’s story and how we passed the instrument along to keep his music alive. We are so happy to know that Sam’s musical legacy, embodied in this guitar, is going strong.

I am still walking, just about every day, and currently preparing for a 5-day hiking/camping trip in the Grand Canyon. I am going with a group of women, organized by Micki, my Camino friend. Since I haven’t been camping in a while, I have had to get educated on the tricky gear requirements of this trip. My pack has expanded to include a tent, inflatable sleeping mat, a stove and some ghastly dehydrated food. While the added weight is intimidating, even more so are the nearly vertical ascents and descents that I will face while carrying it, not to mention, navigating the narrow cliff edge trails! My flatland training will surely prove to be inadequate. I’ll take it at my own pace. So what if I’m the last one into the campsite each evening? That’s what headlamps are for!

I wish all of you well. May your journeys be joyful.

15 thoughts on “Hard to believe it’s been a year: scholars, musicians and another trek

  1. John B. Carr Jr. May 12, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you for the posting. I hope the success of the three young men you helped gives you and John comfort and hope for the future. Your success on your venture was inspiring to me, and I admire your strength and stamina in completing your trek. Give my love to your family, and best of luck on your newest challenge. In hopes we meet again. Best, John Carr

  2. Patty McGuigan May 12, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    So wonderful to get your news .. Carry on Trish ! Safe journey we wish for you .. u one amazing Mama ! Happy mother’s day … ❤️

  3. Rita Paiewonsky May 12, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    It is sooo nice to get your update Trish. Many blessings for your and your friends on your Grand Canyon adventure.

  4. Trish, so good to hear that you are still and always going full steam ahead!
    Sorry to have missed being with you all at Xmas ..looking forward to hearing about your new adventure and to catching up.
    Best wishes and XOXO, France

  5. Trish, in the theatre we say “break a leg” but I don’t think that works here. I’ll just wish you well on your newest quest and Happy Mother’s Day.

  6. Ellen Rauchbach May 12, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Looking forward to the incredible pictures you will post on you trip! Happy Mother’s Day to a fabulous woman ❤️

  7. Happy Mother’s Day Trish and hope you have an incredible time at the Grand Canyon! You are very inspirational!!

  8. Sally Spilman May 13, 2019 at 1:16 am

    Happy Mother’s Day Trish, you are an inspiration to all mothers…yikes hiking the Grand Canyon…and that is why you are an inspiration…always challenging yourself..and if nothing else making us all think. Wishing you the best on your new journey. ❌⭕️

  9. Stacey Brooks May 13, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Trish! Missed seeing you on our LB selling spree this past winter…you were off on another fantastic adventure. The Grand Canyon is so beautiful and powerful that you will be just fine! Enjoy!

  10. So good to hear how things are turning out my friend. Happy news about the grads as well! I’m glad to say that my daughter is now 2 years clean and sober, and 15 months into motherhood which is turning out much better than we expected. Our relationship is still extremely difficult, but one thing at a time. Much love to you!

  11. Congratulations on the scholarships. It sounds like they are already accomplishing much good. I will be leaving in mid July for SJPP, planning to get to around Astorga by mid-August before returning home. Ann and I hiked the Primitivo last fall, and will be hiking Florence to Assisi this fall. Retirement is great!

  12. You go, Trish!! I have loved reading your blog and am so inspired by the ripple effects of the scholarships and the guitar. What a lovely legacy for Sam.
    I did not see you this season in Vero and was hoping I would!
    Best of luck on your camping trek and God bless you!

  13. Vee Coffindaffer May 14, 2019 at 2:49 am

    So proud of you for all you have done for Sam. The scholarships and the guitar are so special. Stay safe on your trek to the Grand Canyon. I will pray that you have good weather and a fun trip. Glad to see again all your treks on the Camino. Give John and Henry a “hello” from me. I guess they will be holding down the home place. Love you,
    Aunt Vee

  14. A year already? I have missed your updates and with this one, I am so glad to hear of the success of these two graduates from University of Colorado. It has to feel good to know that these young men are carrying Sam’s spirit forward! A terrific first step for all you have done to honor Sam and help others along this road.
    A Celebratory Grand Canyon hike with Camino friends..how fun. You go girl!.

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