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october 1998

The section of the Ozark Highlands Trail that heads downstream from Richland Creek campground is easy going, which is why I would often wander down that way in Darby's final couple of years when his arthritis made it pretty much out of the question to take him through rougher terrain.

We fought a long, hard fight against it, but arthritis finally took him down for good. When he stopped getting up to go to the bathroom, and ultimately stopped eating, he was telling me that we had run out of ammunition and it was time to surrender, and maybe past time. Having Darby put down was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

This turn in the creek has been a favorite spot of mine for years, and since it was usually Darby who was with me when I visited it, I call it the Darby turn in his honor.