By Joe McFarlane
A loving son surprised his dad with a helicopter ride over the peak of a mountain they climbed together two decades ago.
For some, a Father’s Day surprises consist a six-pack of their favourite beer or a DVD boxset, but for Bryce “Jurgy” Jurgensmeier, 30, he decided he would take his father on a trip down memory lane.
When Bryce was nine years old, he and his father, Dee, climbed to the 12,667ft summit of Mount Borah in Idaho.
With his now 67-year-old dad unable to climb the mountain, Bryce gave him an aerial trip down memory lane with a helicopter ride to the peak.
Bryce said: “It felt amazing and so fulfilling when I pulled off the surprise.
“It was so awesome seeing my dad smile through the entire flight there and back. The conversations we had once we landed by the peak were what I needed.
“I’ve honestly never seen my dad laugh like that before. He was actually giggling and couldn’t hold in his excitement. He is still is so grateful from it.”
Bryce still remembers that initial climb to Mount Borah as ‘one of the hardest days’ of his life.
He said: “I didn’t know at all what I was getting into and halfway up I got elevation sickness.
“My dad monitored me throughout and made sure I was ok and helped me learn the importance of not quitting.
“I kept going, because my dad was right there encouraging me, and more importantly – he was climbing it himself right in front of me.
“After becoming a father myself, my dad & I talked about fears and hopes as a parent. He said something that has stuck with me ever since. He hoped that he had provided his children with the right experiences in life so they can make it through anything.
“When he said that, it reminded me of when he took me to the summit of Mt. Borah. It was everything; awesome, extremely difficult, the worst, and the best. I loved it, then really hated it, but then I couldn’t stop talking about it for years. It shaped me. And I wanted to let him know that.”
And Bryce decided to let his father know how pivotal that day was to him by surprising Dee with an epic Father’s Day treat.
Due to Dee dealing with some recent health complications, he was not in a position to be able to re-climb the peak with his now adult son.
But if Dee couldn’t go to the mountain himself, Bryce decided he would take his father to the peak himself.
Hatching a plan to take his father to the mountain by air, Dee awoke to the almighty surprise of a helicopter randomly landing on his front yard.
Unaware that it was for him, Dee proceeded to take pictures of the out of the ordinary site. It wasn’t until he was standing on his front lawn laughing at the grounded helicopter, that it was revealed it was actually his ride to the top of the mountain.
Bryce said: “With my dad going through some health complications, our conversations have become more serious as you never know how long each of us has on this planet.
“Instead of climbing to the top of the peak which isn’t possible anymore for my dad, we flew to the peak and rekindled all the shaping memories throughout the day.”
Flying over the vast countryside of Idaho and swooping over the snow-capped peak of Mount Borah brought all the memories back for the father and son, who nostalgically looked back at the ups and downs of their epic adventure over 20 years prior.
Bryce said: “This experience wouldn’t have happened if my dad didn’t do his job as a father. I don’t mean just ‘being around’ and ‘providing’ for us, but also actively creating opportunities for us to go through difficult moments and develop character.
“If this experience with my father encourages other parents to provide growth experiences for their children that would be pretty cool. They might not thank you for 20 years, but it will all come around.
“Good parents need to be praised more. I owe everything to my parents because they have always been there and pulled the “parent card” when I needed it.
“I wanted it to come back full circle for my father.
“Those 20 years ago, he could have just told me how great the climb was to the top of Mt Borah, but instead, he took me with him.
“Today, I could’ve just told him how grateful I was that he did that for me over 20 years ago, but instead I wanted to show him and experience that again with him.”