Monday, January 08, 2007
Grandpa Frank’s Last Trail Marker
For as long as I can remember, Christmas has been a time to go to Grandpa’s house. My Grandpa Frank’s house was the closest thing I ever had to a place to call “home” for most of my formative years. I always enjoyed passing the time with him. I spent many a New Year’s Day in his front room watching college bowl games. It never really mattered who was playing – watching football with Frank was always fun to do.
Frank passed away in July of 2005. My family and I took some time to visit his grave on Christmas day this past year. Frank’s grave is relatively simple – he was never much for self worship. He loved the outdoors and was an avid scouter – a man who was as much at home among the trees as he was in his living room.
Back in Frank’s day he learned the art of trail blazing. This was well before the days of GPS, cell phones, or even two way radios. Scouts and Forestry workers would leave trail markers designating important information for those who would follow. Markers would tell followers about obstacles, food, shelter, and other useful pointers.
The trail marker code is a mostly forgotten one. You can see a few of them here (PDF). Frank left his final trail marker on his headstone.
The symbol has but a very simple meaning. It is left on the trail by the trailblazer to signal his followers that this is the end of his trail. Simply put, the symbol means “Gone Home”.