The last time I saw Max was at the C hole a few years ago. He looked AWESOME, I was totally inspired by his comeback from his neck accident, and there was a look in his eye that I hadn't seen there before. Maybe healthier, maybe more grounded, it's hard to put my finger on it.
We were on a westwater trip together probably 5 years ago now, and I simply couldn't hang. I had far less to drink and slept many more hours than he did on that trip. I am pretty sure he was once again found asleep by a cold fire pit without a blanket. He was always playing at something. He and a few others in his "posse" hiked back up to swim the rapid a couple of times. On the flat water paddle out he kept us laughing- I have a hilarious photo of just his head sticking out of the VERY brown water with a funny look on his face cause he was pooping- (sorry environmentalists), but at the time it was hysterical. Later when it started to rain and the temperature dropped to where most of us were trying to get the hell out, he was in the midst of a mud fight- COLD mud. I went back thru those pictures the other night and it made me laugh that EVERY one Max was either flexing his muscles or kissing his bicep. I am thankful that I got to know him at least a little bit, he was an absolute character, but with such a kind heart. He had many friends. It does seem to go hand in hand that someone who is so far from "normal" is so loved, he took everyone on a journey to a place where you didn't have to follow the rules, he left an undying gift, memories of laughter.