Hallock family remembers hiker: ‘He would meet God in the mountains’

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03/11/2016 6:00 AM |

Tim Hallock

Tim Hallock’s family is learning more about the nickname he used while reflecting upon his winter mountaineering accomplishments.

Hikers often have trail names and Mr. Hallock’s was “Yeti,” a word typically used to describe an abominable snowman.

One of his proudest achievements was a 150-mile solo expedition of the Northville Placid Trail in upstate New York that took him 16 days to complete.

“A personal best for Yeti,” Mr. Hallock wrote on his website for Northeast Mountain Guides. “And more to come.”

His mother, Sue, has been poring over family photos and printing memories his friends and family have posted online following the news that Mr. Hallock’s body was found Feb. 28 on the Castle Ravine Trail in Randolph, N.H., near the treeline between Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson.

The 54-year-old Orient resident was an avid hiker who served on the board of the New York State Outdoor Guides Association. As the founder of Northeast Mountain Guides, he also led groups in winter survival and other types of outdoor activities.

“From a spiritual side, he found being out there on top of a mountain as a beautiful thing,” Ms. Hallock said in an interview this week. “It’s more than physical — he would meet God in the mountains.”

While his cause of death is still under investigation, Ms. Hallock confirmed her son died of hypothermia.

Since he was found with just a daypack, Mr. Hallock’s brother Matt said he believes he had only planned to climb the mountain and return within a day.

Following his death, the Hallock family has been overwhelmed by the hiking community’s outpouring of love and support.

“When he’d come back, we’d always talk about his trips,” Matt said in an interview this week. “We’re very proud of what he did.”

He described the hiking community as a “brotherhood,” with many of Mr. Hallock’s fellow hikers attending his funeral and highlighting his passion for nature, leadership and friendship.

Ms. Hallock said her family has also been in contact with the two hikers who found her son’s body.

“They were so happy when we got in touch with them because they’ve been traumatized by what they saw,” she said. “They were so happy they could share with us and we could share with them. They offered to take anyone to the site come spring to leave a memorial. One of the mothers also offered her home in Maine for the family to stay, which isn’t too far from the trailhead.”

Ms. Hallock said her son, the second of six children, fell in love with nature as a small boy.

The family lived on a sod farm with barn animals in Aquebogue until they sold the business when Mr. Hallock was 12 years old. They then moved to a waterfront home in Peconic where Ms. Hallock still resides.

His experiences on the water led Mr. Hallock to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point after graduating from Southold High School. Shortly after, he started his own business, Hallock’s Marine Services in Orient.

In recent years, he preferred being on mountains as opposed to the sea since he felt uncomfortable in warm weather, especially during the busy summer season, Ms. Hallock said.

She described the brisk, clear skies during her son’s funeral Saturday as “fitting” because it had snowed the day before. The two-day weather pattern is defined as a “blue bird day,” a term her son used to describe pictures from his mountaintop adventures depicting gorgeous skies above the clouds.

“It snowed the day before and we thought, ‘Tim is at his old tricks again,’ ” she joked. “We had light snow — just enough to make it fitting. The next day, the sky was beautiful and bright.”

Ms. Hallock said plans are underway to preserve her son’s memory by encouraging opportunities for children to enjoy the outdoors. Memorial donations can be sent to NYSOGA Kids to Camp Fund – Tim Hallock, Attn: Jeff Whittemore, 51 Elm St., Dolgeville, NY 13329.

“Just the raw, sheer awesomeness of what was surrounding him makes you believes there’s got to be something more,” she said, recalling how Mr. Hallock felt while hiking. “I’m sure he found peace and a joy there.”

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Photo: Tim Hallock in an undated photo. The 54-year-old Orient resident was an avid hiker who served on the board of the New York State Outdoor Guides Association and founded the Northeast Mountain Guides. (Credit: Hallock family courtesy photo)

Correction: The number of Tim Hallock’s siblings were incorrect in a previous version of this story. He’s the second oldest of six children. We regret the error.

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