Happy Trails to you Sandy!

At the end of March Sandy Compton will ride off into the sunset. At least that’s what he would have done if he had not taken a “Side Trips from Cowboy.”*

No, he’s not going in search of those lands that the corona virus has yet to find. Nor is he practicing the ultimate in social distancing. He’s retiring. A word that he has been reluctant to use. And somewhat rightfully so. He’s not likely to be seen in a rocking chair with a lap blanket. He is more than likely repurpose-ing.

Sandy has always led a purposeful life. To the casual observer it may appear that his chief purpose was to ski and drink beer. And not necessarily in that order. Those of us who have had the chance to get to know him better, know that Sandy is driven by a purpose to tell stories. His tales help people to connect to the landscape, to connect to each other, to connect to themselves. When you begin to understand Sandy’s purpose you will understand yourself and your community better. And you will come closer to understanding, or at least having empathy for, this crazy mixed up world of ours.

Sandy on his horse, Thunder. A few years ago.

Sandy has been coy about his exact plans, but you can be sure that he will continue to tell stories that connect us all. And I expect we will see him on the slopes and in the fine watering holes of Sandpoint

For  the last ten years Sandy has been an integral part of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness staff. For 5 years before that he was a dependable volunteer and our “go-to” graphic design and media contractor, discounting his work at a very good “friends and family” rate. Before that he spent the previous 50 or so years “Growing up Wild”** in the nearby Scotchman Peaks.

I’ve been pondering Sandy’s retirement, ahem, re-purposing for some time. It is hard to imagine, so I have put off trying to do that. But now the time has come and we must all adjust and learn to cope with a life without Sandy as the FSPW Program Coordinator. It’s OK because we will know where to find him. And it will be OK, because he has helped to groom our staff and partners and volunteers for the changes that we will all face.

So we wish him well and appreciate that his side trips from cowboy and his growing up wild are what brought him into our lives. We are ever grateful he has shared all that with us!

* “Side Trips From Cowboy” – one of Sandy’s most compelling books, a must read to even try to understand his world
** “Growing Up Wild” – one of Sandy’s most inspiring stories. It helps connect us all to the special places in our own lives.

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About The Author:

Phil Hough is the Executive Director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.

He has hiked the "triple crown": the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest trail (twice). He has also paddled the length of the Yukon river. Phil's love of wilderness guides him as he works to save the incrediblly wild Scotchman Peaks, one of the last and largest roadless places in northern Idaho and western Montana.

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  1. Nice piece Phil! Great Photo! – Bax

  2. I knew Compton before the ski thing happened to him. I recall a column he wrote about standing at the top of No Joke when a friend came by to utter the fateful words, “Well, what are you waiting for?”

    I have a rocking chair to donate to him now that he will apparently be in need.

    Either that or (more likely) it will be interesting to see what his encore is. Probably not astronaut, but you never know.

  3. Loved the article. I also like the re-purposing. I am glad Sandy won’t really be absent from our lives.

  4. Mr. Compton, you will be missed. I hope to see on on the mountain skiing or on the trail.

  5. Sandy, I’ll (We’ll) Miss You as an Essential part of the Scotchman Peak Wilderness Group!! Thanks for All the Hikes (and Bushwhacks!) you have led over these past 15 years! Thanks for all your Above and Beyond Volunteering and Job Duties you have performed for SPW! It just won’t be the same without You! Blessings and Best Wishes, Bev Newsham

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