A walk in the woods

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Roger George Brown

10 September 1951 – 9 November 2016

Dear Followers,

It is with great sadness that I write this piece for you all. My father Roger passed away from cancer a few days ago. To be honest I am not sure how much people knew of his illness. I know in typical dad style he tried to play down how sick he was even to me, when I was standing right in front of him. I guess this was the last gift he wanted to give us – hope.

14938375_10210768271021036_1485095742720825552_nDad loved this website, and he loved the community here. It was his little space in the world where he shared his love of the outdoors. Before he died, he pestered me (uncomfortably so) to promise to take care of it for him. So here I am.

My first consecutive day hike with dad (I think) was when I was 5. He took my brother and I to climb Mt Kosciusko during the summer holidays. Being the highest mountain in Australia it’s probably not the most obvious choice to introduce a 5 year old to hiking. But that was dad. When I complained about having to go uphill, he told me there was a cafe up top. To this day, I have never climbed a mountain with a cafe on top of it…

Leading up to this trip I remember telling dad that I thought it was amazing that Santa knew I needed a pack for my upcoming trip. This is probably my first memory of my dads enthusiasm to buy me outdoor gear. From that moment on, if it was hiking related I was (mostly) allowed to have it.

The good gear times really started to roll, once my brother and I were old enough to use his old gear, enabling him to buy new stuff. His passion for geeking out on hiking gear was always there. In the early days I think we got the gear reviews while on trips with him. Interestingly, he was also the one who taught me the saying ‘all the gear, no idea’.

I have spent my life following his hiking boots. Which I note have gotten lighter over the years due to his love of lightweight hiking gear. In his final days, he was still determined to get up and go walking. Everyday, he would ask me to take him for a short walk. Everyday, as every other day before us, we went outside and put one foot in front of the other.

In July I came over from Australia to spend 6 weeks with him while he was going through chemo. During that time, we would go for daily meanders through the woods and we did one overnight hike which he documented here. I was fortunate enough to be able to support him on this trip. The sun was glorious and dad was in his element. This trip was about 8km over 2 days, a far cry from the 20-30km days he had brought me up with. We joked that we were serious thru hikers now. It was good to see him joking again. During this hike I got to witness his sheer happiness by being back in the outdoors. With everything that had been going on with his health, it was clear how the outdoors recalibrated him. He was happier, calmer and freer.

Dad always told me he wanted to be hiking till he was 100. I know he is now in a place where he can hike for eternity, sit in his camping chair and watch the world go by. Totally at peace.

I will meet you in the woods Dad, we can go for a hike some time.

Love Kylie x

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This entry was posted in Australia, Coastal Walking, Denmark. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to A walk in the woods

  1. Sorry to hear of your loss Kylie. I too am an Australian and live in Copenhagen. I have only had the pleasure of knowing your Dad this year. I have enjoyed his blog and his comments and I even purchased some of his gear. I was not aware of his sickness. Thank you for posting. I know he would of loved that. All the best.

  2. Ran C. says:

    I am shocked and saddened by Roger’s passing away. The old backpack I bought from him a while ago will become more precious now.
    My condolences to the family.
    Ran

  3. Hanna says:

    Dear Kylie. I never met your father but we shared the same passion for the lakes; Farum Sø and Furesøen. Some time ago he gave a vague hint about his illness and from a picture taken recently outside his tent I could see he had lost weight. In fact I thought of your father from time to time wondering how it went with him. So when a post appeared in my email announcing a new post I felt relieved. I thought Nielsen Brown had been out again exploring the coastline of Denmark which he described so brilliant. In fact he did more exploring in Denmark than I have managed yet.
    It’s good to know that you have inherited his joy for the outdoors.
    Thanks for letting us know.
    All the best to you and your family,
    Hanna

  4. Jens says:

    Sorry for your loss Kylie. I have followed your fathers blog for a number of years and bought some of his old gear.
    Best of wishes for you.
    Jens

  5. Kylie, I’m so sorry to hear about father. I shared his passion for hiking & wild camping. We used to swap our thoughts & experiences on gear which we were both addicted to! I didn’t know he was ill, so it was a shock to me to read this. He will missed in the backpacking community. All the very best to you and your family at this difficult time.
    Mark

  6. Martin Rye says:

    So sorry to hear this news. I always appreciated his passion, and encouragement to the backpacking community whilst sharing his trips with us online. My condolences to you and your family at this time.

  7. Robin says:

    Very sad to hear this news. I’ve just lost my mum from cancer too. Although I never met your father we swapped ideas over social media and pulled each other’s legs about the sporting fortunes of England and Australia. He will be sorely missed in the outdoor blogging community. Sincere condolences to you and your family.

  8. So sorry to hear about your loss Kylie and thankyou for the blog post.

  9. Dear Kylie,

    I’m very sad to hear that your father has passed. I was surprised by he was ill in cancer. I want to tell you that we have had some contacts for a few years ago. Once, we were going to meet at central station in Malmö and have a coffee (It was then I lived in Malmö, Sweden). Unfortunately, he had to cancel the meeting. I regret never trying to propose a new meeting again. It was then I had a blog where I wrote about my trips and equipment.

    Roger, your father, has inspired me for years. I always read his trip reports. He had an ability to see small golden things out on his trips. It didn’t matter if it was a long or short trip, it was always something to explore out there. Lots of people travel far away to experience marvelous hiking trips in remote areas, but Roger, he travelled around here in Scandinavia and explored the beauties of countrysides. He also did lots of trips all the year around and saw the beauties of changing seasons of the year which are characteristic in the Nordic countries. His texts are still very inspiring.

    If possible, try saving his texts and make an anthology of his texts or a book with a collection of texts from his blog.

    Thanks for letting us know. All the best to you and family.
    /Jonas

  10. I have only known him via a few brief messages and our websites, but I am deeply saddened for you and your family Kylie.

  11. Jon says:

    Very sad to hear this. My condolences to you and your family. As many other here I did not know your father in person but read his blog and had some contact over the years.

  12. hikingfiasco says:

    Such a sad post and I feel shocked by the news. Roger had a contemplative manner to his writing and I always enjoyed reading his posts. He was always a gentleman and he’ll be missed greatly. Kylie and rest of his family, I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Greg

  13. Genuinely saddened by Rogers death. I never met him but we shared a love of hiking Scandinavia and we had contacted each other about meeting up somewhere remote. I guess that will never happen and I regret that. He was a gentleman and that came through both his writing and photographs.

    Mark

  14. Christian says:

    Dear Kylie, my deep and sincere condolences to you and all your family. I never met your father, but followed his blog – his blogposts were highly motivating to me for going outdoors as well. I am very sorry to hear those sad news about your father.

  15. I am sad to hear Roger has passed away. A visit from Roger was allways like a ray of light, and every time he left me with a smile on my face.
    He will be missed, both for his charming personality, and for his excellent writing.

  16. Andy Wright says:

    I’m so sorry to hear your news and wish you and your family all the best through this difficult time. I’ve so enjoyed reading of your fathers adventures and gear reviews. His tales of Wilson’s Prom in particular brought back so many happy memories for me. Sincere condolences.

    Andy

  17. Wazza says:

    Yes he certainly was passionate about his hiking. Whilst I only did a few trips with him you could always rely on his detailed planning, this meant I could just show up and enjoy the trip. Although there was one episode where the tide time table should have been checked before starting the trip, but these are the walks you sit around and laugh about later.

    Equally my gear loft has been shaped by his research, used gear and group buys.
    I will miss his comments on my blog regardless of what topic I wrote about.

    Farvel Roger.

    Wazza

  18. Sad news….never had the pleasure of meeting Roger but enjoyed his writing.

  19. peter dyregaard says:

    You will be missed, Roger

  20. Niels Blok says:

    Dear Kylie

    I knew your father and hiked several times with him. We spoke of many things on our hikes together. One thing, I will always remember him for, is his passion for the outdoors, where he thrived and fronted the essential facts of life. He inspired me in many ways. I will miss him.

    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Thoreau.

    • kyliembrown says:

      Thank you Niels, I have been trying to remember that quote for days but haven’t been able to.

      Really sums up my father well. Thank you.

      Kylie

  21. André says:

    Very sad news.

    I never met him but we’ve given each other comments and likes on our respective blogs many times over the years. Also he was an inspiring person that has given me many tips and tricks about hiking and gear.

    All the best to you and your family,

    André

  22. Velimir Kemec says:

    Dear Kylie
    I am very sorry to hear about your father. I was aware of his illness and kept fingers cross for him and hoped he`ll get well until next Spring and again start his walks as he did. We agreed I should keep him a bottle of wine till Christmas this year and send him as much honey as he would want just to help him get well. Roger I`ve never met you in person but I know you were a real gentleman and were always helpful with honest and friendly advice. I`ll miss you mate!

    Sincere condolences to all family.

  23. gauperaa says:

    Very sad to hear about Roger passing away. Even though I never got the chance to meet him, he felt in a way like extended family as part of the european UL crowd which is pretty small. I enjoyed reading his blog posts and communicating with him through twitter etc. Sincere condolences.

  24. Heather Rhodes says:

    I’ve just heard from Mark Waring that Roger had died – as he knew that Roger had been part of the Pacerpole family for quite some time.
    From our emails spanning many years, I sensed from these what an imaginative, thoughtful man Roger was – with his feet on the ground, and enjoying every step he was taking; quite special.
    Kylie – wonderful to know that you are following in these footsteps. Keep us posted.
    Take care (and a Big Hug)
    Heather

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