Robert Parks toed the California-Mexico border in May, the beginning of his 2,600-mile hiking excursion on the Pacific Crest Trail.
The 32-year-old Coeur d'Alene man trained for weeks in North Idaho forests for the beautiful and equally arduous journey set to conclude in Canada.
When Parks reached Lake Tahoe, however, he temporarily shelved the trip after falling in love with the outdoor haven.
Tragically, he won't get to finish his endeavor.
Parks was killed this past weekend while crossing a South Lake Tahoe street, the result of a pedestrian-vehicle accident late Saturday night.
A man driving a Toyota Prius was westbound on Lake Tahoe Boulevard at 11:23 p.m. Saturday when he collided with Parks, who was walking north in an unlit area, according to reports. The driver, who said he didn't see Parks, stopped and tried to help before medics arrived.
Parks was sent to Barton Memorial Hospital, where he died following emergency surgery. It was the third vehicle-pedestrian death on the highway since 2013.
The driver showed no signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is cooperating with the investigation, police said.
Parks' family will be leaving for California this week to bring him home.
"He loved his family with all of his heart. We were all very close," Parks' sister, Erin Parks, told The Press. "When his dad passed away in 2010, he took over as the pillar of our family. He just had the biggest heart. I can't even explain it. He loved to work hard and play hard.”
Parks, who graduated from Lake City High School in 2002, recently worked at Alpine Construction. Friends and family said he had an affinity for the outdoors and was often found enjoying North Idaho's open spaces hunting, hiking and biking.
"He was very adventurous," Erin Parks said. "He was at that point where he was ready for another adventure, so he left (to hike the Pacific Crest Trail)."
Chris Parks, a friend with the same last name but no relation, was shocked to hear of Robert's passing.
"He was liked and adored by many,” Chris Parks said. "He was a really good dude. ... He was looking to get out of here and have a little journey. It's sad. He was too young."
A celebration of life is tentatively set around Jan. 9, Parks' birthday.