Using his father's old wooden cane for support, Sacha Trudeau limped along a mountain trail on the weekend to attend a celebration and memorial service that was as touching as it was unusual.
Mr. Trudeau, accompanied by his mother, Margaret Trudeau, his half-sister, Alicia Kemper, and his cousin, Robert Dening, followed a trail that crossed rushing streams and remnant snow packs.
The cast on his left foot, which was broken in a motorcycle accident, was splattered with mud by the time he got to the remote cabin dedicated to the memory of his brother, Michel Trudeau, and a dozen other avalanche victims in the park.
But the 200 people who'd gathered for the opening of the Kokanee Glacier Cabin didn't mind.
Some clapped when he arrived -- having limped over from the Slocan Chief Cabin, where Michel had spent his last night alive -- and a few took pictures. A Mountie in red serge, who had helped search for Michel's body, stepped forward and hugged Mrs. Trudeau.
A helicopter had been standing by to fly the Trudeau party to the new cabin, built after the family helped raise $970,000. But Wayne Stetsky, a provincial park official who guided them, said Mr. Trudeau insisted on walking.
"He's a very determined young man," Mr. Stetsky said, after leaving them to hike alone. "He said walking this part of the trail is important to him."
Mr. Trudeau had flown in to the Slocan Chief Cabin, but then hiked the last two kilometres, up a rise and then down a steep incline, to reach the new Kokanee Glacier Cabin. His brother would have followed that same route, before turning south to the lake where the avalanche took him.
A short time after Sacha Trudeau arrived at Kokanee Glacier Cabin, the crowd, many of whom had hiked seven kilometres from the trailhead to attend the event, sang O Canada and burst into applause like hockey fans.
A national anthem on a mountaintop. Red-coated Mounties surrounded by scenic mountain peaks. And the Trudeaus.
It was a uniquely Canadian event and one which left Mr. Trudeau and his mother brushing back tears.
"It's a pleasure to see this. To be able to come back here for such a joyous event," said Mr. Trudeau who had visited the park only once before, in November, 1998, when RCMP divers were searching for 23-year-old Michel.
His body was never found and it rests in Kokanee Lake, where he was last seen struggling to shed his touring skis and backpack far out in the water. An avalanche had knocked him off a steep trail above the lake, and pushed him so far from shore that his friends couldn't reach him.
On Saturday, members of the Trudeau family returned to the park, near Nelson, B.C., to attend the opening of a cabin built in his memory. The building replaces the 103-year-old Slocan Chief, which has become dilapidated in recent years.
Mr. Trudeau told the crowd about his first visit to the park in "a very sad, stormy November," when he flew over the lake where Michel had vanished.
"I came with a mission, to get my brother, or what was left of him, out of here."
But he said that once he saw how beautiful the park was, he felt an acceptance both of his brother's death and of the fact that searchers had been unable to locate his body.
He said he went home to tell his family that there must have been some greater reason for the accident -- and he suggested that the lake was a suitable final resting place for Michel.
"I understood in a way that there was no sense in taking him out of here. He died in the right place. We should all be so lucky," he said in an interview. "It all made sense when I came here."
He said he explained it to his family this way: "I just told them, go see the place."
His father, Pierre Trudeau, who died in 2000, his mother, and his brother, Justin, have all made pilgrimages to the lake since then.
"It was a very snowy, cold time. The place seemed very remote, forbidding," Mrs. Trudeau said, recalling her first visit, shortly after Michel was lost.
"I'm much more at peace with his death now," she said, smiling. "This is his grave and it's wonderful to be able to visit it."
Mr. Trudeau said the family was very moved that the Kokanee Glacier Cabin had been built in Michel's memory, and in the memory of the dozen others who have died in the park over the years.
"You mountain people know how to turn tragedy into triumph," he told the crowd, seated on rocks outside the cabin. "This is a triumph. Thank you."
Just before the cabin was officially opened, relatives of the other avalanche victims were invited to step forward to help the Trudeaus cut the ribbon. Several came up, and when they all stood together on the cabin porch, many people started crying.
When there was a minute's silence, the only sound was the wind in the trees.
Carmen Carter, who sat on the cabin steps quietly weeping, said her husband, John Carter, had died nearby when an avalanche struck him on Feb. 26, 1996.
"I thought it was really beautiful," she said of the ceremony. "It was peaceful. It was good for closure. And to build this cabin for all those people who died was awesome."
The cabin, which sleeps 15, has its own hydro-generating plant, a sophisticated non-polluting sewage treatment system, a large kitchen and dining area and an on-site caretaker who, during the winter, will provide daily avalanche updates. The Alpine Club of Canada manages the cabin for the provincial parks branch.
Asked what he thought of the building, Mr. Trudeau said. "It's phenomenal. It's a treasure."