A tribute to “The Most Interesting Man in Maine”

Backpacking
A tribute to “The Most Interesting Man in Maine”

I’m a big fan of the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign where a rugged older gentleman does everything from launch himself out of a moving airplane in a kayak to shooing a mountain lion off his kitchen countertop. For just over a year, I had the privilege of being Facebook friends with Brad Bradstreet, a retired IT professional, real estate agent, ultra-active volunteer, world traveler, photographer and devoted family man from Maine. While I’m quite sure Brad never jumped out of a plane in a kayak, he was a truly fascinating man nevertheless. In the short time I knew him, Brad singlehandedly transformed my Facebook newsfeed into a daily broadcast of adventurous updates and stunning photos taken throughout the northeast and around the world.

In 2011 alone, Brad toured England…

…China….

…and Russia.

As a trustee with the Mount Washington Observatory, Brad thought nothing of driving from Maine to New Jersey to New Hampshire and back to Maine to attend two MWOBS-events in a single day. In 2011, Brad volunteered with Wreaths Across America, spent a week cooking for the staff at the observatory and participated in the Seek the Peak Hike-a-thon, just as he had every year since 2007 – winning the coveted one-year lease of a Subaru Outback for being a top fundraiser in 2010.

Sadly, Brad passed away in April and while his presence will be dearly missed at this year’s Seek the Peak event, his passion for Mount Washington and the Observatory will live on in what his sure to be the largest single donation in the history of the event. As Brad’s son Bill explains:

“One of Dad’s final wishes was for people to donate to MWO and Camps Newfound-Owatonna instead of sending flowers. The outpouring has been remarkable. Right now, he is sitting at just over $6,000. He would be happy to know that he WILL hit the goal I set in April — $6,288 (the height of Mount Washington). There’s less than $200 to go for us to reach it and I know of a few people who still plan on donating in his name.”

Brad (in pink far left) and his Kilted Clan at the 2011 Seek the Peak hike-a-thon, the largest annual fundraiser for the Mount Washington Observatory

I asked Bill why Mount Washington was so special to his dad and why Brad was such a passionate advocate for not only the mountain but the Observatory as well:

“It is hard to say what drew him to Mount Washington. I think it was the weather. My guess is he loved the mountain — everything about the mountain. Like with those he encountered in life, he expressed unconditional love. He never judged or excluded people. Mount Washington was his friend. Any day interacting with Mount Washington was a good day.”

Brad's regular visits to Mount Washington resulted in some stunning photographs which he shared on his Facebook page.

“Since my father was a member of MWO, I remember many visits to the top where we would tour the observatory. I remember many times eating chili or American Chop Suey.”

Photo of the Observatory kitchen/dining area taken by Brad during one of his many experiences as a volunteer cook.

“As a child, I always enjoyed watching the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ video that shows what The World’s Worst Weather is all about.”

“As an adult, I focus more on how my father would describe the observatory to friends and family. It is a place where people watch the weather. They don’t politicize it. Facts are facts. He would tell me that we needed to protect an organization that gathers such critical data about our planet. The observatory is in a unique location. Other organizations might have just as worthy a cause, but they aren’t located at the top of a mountain where the world’s worst weather is experienced.”   

Brad took hundreds of photos depicting the remarkable effects of the World's Worst Weather.

Obviously, Brad’s affection ran extremely deep for both Mount Washington and the Observatory. As MWOBS Executive Director Scot Henley explains, the feeling was mutual: “Brad was an incredible ambassador for the Observatory. A member of 16 years, he served many times as a volunteer at our summit weather station, and in 2010 we were honored to name him to our Board of Trustees. He has been one of our top fundraisers at Seek the Peak every year since he first joined the event in 2007, attracting many new recruits and forming one of the most hard-working and fun-loving teams, ‘The Kilted Clan.’ Brad was a tireless advocate for the Observatory, sharing his love for this organization with everyone he met. We are proud to have had him among our ranks.”

While Brad was a very rare individual, you too, can experience his profound passion and enthusiasm by summiting his favorite mountain. The unpredictable weather makes it a challenge any time of year, and if you happen to be there on one of the rare clear days, you’ll be rewarded with the most majestic view in New England. Whether you love to hike, appreciate extreme weather or are just looking to have a great day filled with cool prizes, awesome food and fun people, I hope Brad’s story inspires you to participate in or support Seek the Peak.

I guarantee you’ll have a fantastic experience and I can’t think of a better tribute to “The Most Interesting Man in Maine.”

In memory of Brad Bradstreet: September 4, 1945 - April 6, 2012

 

Jim Darroch


Jim's love for the outdoors began with family camping trips in "Brady Bunch" style canvas tents and progressed to backpacking adventures with the Boy Scouts. In 2007, he fulfilled his teenage dream by joining Eastern Mountain Sports as Brand Communications Manager. When he's not in the office, you'll find Jim kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking around the Monadnock Region and throughout New England with his wife Brenda and his dog Brewski.

4 Comments

  1. Charlie
    June 22, 2012, 8:17 pm

    I got yo know Brad on the MWOBS forum and we talked for a year and a half when i said i wanted to go to Seek the Peak ,he did not hesitate to say hike with me and i did . From the time we shook hands a bond of friendship was made .With in a year of me coming up from PA on weekends he started to say to people i was his twin . Then came along Chris our other twin . At that time i knew i would do any thing for him and all his family .
    It was a short but long 4 years that i knew Brad but it was like a life time of trips ,stories and family dinners . W did 2 weeks volunteering on the summit i did the cooking and he did the cleaning . I have to say that the 2 weeks was the best thing we did together and will never forget it .
    Brad was more then a friend he was a father ,teacher ,buddy and a twin .
    You may be gone Brad but you will never never be forgotten
    Until we hike again keep looking down on us with your love my Brother

  2. Rebecca
    June 22, 2012, 2:18 pm

    I’m SO GRATEFUL to see this article! Brad, you will ALWAYS be a great man in my heart!

  3. Jim Darroch
    June 22, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Thanks, Chris – I met Brad at the kickoff party to celebrate our company’s new role as Official Outfitter to MWOBS. That was only time we chatted face-to-face but he was a regular commenter on our Facebook page and shared great photos with us as well.

    We all need more people like Brad in our lives to remind us to fill our lives with more epic experiences and good deeds.

    I didn’t know him long, but I respected him immensely.

  4. Chris
    June 22, 2012, 9:00 am

    This is absolutley incredable. Brad was one of the most sincere men I ever had the pleasure of bieng friends with. I considered him my Brother. I only had a few years with Brad and I miss him every day. I miss the adventures we used to go on and his stories. I do not believe you could ever find a more honest person. Brad did amazing things and he found joy in sharing them with anybody. He would help you wether he knew you or not. Words alone cannot explain what kind of man he was.

    R.I.P. My friend my Brother My idol.

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