The Martyr and the Saint

[Editor’s Note: This month’s “Community Voices” column is authored by Jennilyn Tockstein, a mother, runner, artist, and hobby conservationist. Bits of her poetry and life can be found on her Instagram page. In this column each month, we showcase the work of a writer, visual artist, or other creative type from within our global trail running and ultrarunning community. Our goal is to tell stories about our sport and wildlands in creative and innovative ways. Submit your work for consideration!]

The Wasatch Range of mountains, located near the Salt Lake Valley where I live in Utah, is a playground to the local mountain-loving community. Many of us have tromped around this range, loving to explore our “backyard.” Unfortunately, the mountains don’t care about our ease of access, and are still mountains–stark, dangerous, and wild. I’ve lost too many friends over the years in this beloved backyard. I wrote this poem in 2016 when I lost good friend Stephen Jones to an avalanche just weeks after he finally convinced me to buy my first pair of skis. Recently, losing Sarah Moughamian in an avalanche caused me to resurface this poem.

Jennilyn Tockstein poem - The Martyr and the Saint

Stephen Jones - 2015 Bighorn Trail 100 Mile

Stephen Jones at the 2015 Bighorn Trail 100 Mile. Photo: Quintin Barney

Jennilyn Tockstein and Sarah Moughamian - Uinta Mountains fastpacking

Jennilyn Tockstein and Sarah Moughamian fastpacking in the Uinta Mountains in 2014. Photo courtesy of Jennilyn Tockstein.

Call for Comments

  • Feel welcome to remember Stephen Jones, Sarah Moughamian, and your own loved ones lost in the mountains.
  • When have you experienced nature’s ability to both harm and heal?

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