L.L.Bean’s Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway is helping people discover the great outdoors every day. Each entry is unique – some are humorous and some straightforward, while still others are deeply emotional. Distinct as they are, all share a passion for the outdoors. Here’s a particularly touching story from Mark, a recent gear recipient from our home state of Maine.
As many Mainers know, our weather can be quite unpredictable — and sometimes dangerous. As an experienced bush pilot in Northern Maine, Mark’s father was known for taking day trips to cast his line at one of Maine’s many hidden lakes. On one such trip many years ago, Mark’s father and his copilot encountered particularly severe weather. Tragically, their plane crashed, and both men perished.
Mark was two years old at the time. Even though search parties combed the area for weeks, the wreckage was never found. Thirteen years later, while flying over the area, Mark’s uncle inadvertently discovered the crash site.
A hiking party was dispatched to visit the site, but as a 15-year-old, Mark was not allowed to go along. Now 57 and the father of two boys, Mark seeks closure through this request:
“I would like to finally pay my final respects to my Dad. I have a small ceramic angel with his date of death on it that I have been saving for years. I would like to place this angel, along with some other memorabilia, at his grave site. I would like to take my wife and boys, along with my daughter-in-law into this site and pay our respects and lay my Dad my rest. If I was chosen by L.L.Bean as a daily winner I would not need a lot of gear. My family has thought about a plan on how to do this safely and successfully. We would like a set of handheld GPS/walkie-talkies, along with 3 survival kits in case of an accident. We all have bought a lot of hiking and camping gear items from Bean over the years. We have packs, boots and clothing. Our plan would be to get our directions down and try to find this area, splitting up into 3 teams. We will do this as a day hiking expedition. We would like to be able get a GPS location for future trips in. Maybe someday I’ll be able take my grandkids in to see their great-grandfather’s crash site.”
Mark’s strength of spirit and beautiful story truly humble and inspire us. We hope that with the right gear, Mark will gain the closure he seeks.
Did you find Mark’s story as touching as we did? Share your thoughts below and, as always, we’ll donate $1 for each comment to our Million Moment Mission.