Parents recall impact 8-year-old son who died at Hanging Lake had on those around him

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Aaron and Lisa Ragon can hardly believe their 8-year-old son Noah is gone.

“It's an awful, awful experience. It’s also out of body ... not real. I'm definitely in a little denial, too," Lisa Ragon said.

On Monday, the family of four from Highlands Ranch were on a hike at Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs.

“The kids have gone up there several times. They love that area. They like to hike and be outdoors," Lisa Ragon said.

The family could have never imagine this hike would be Noah's last.

He was walking across rocks near a waterfall when officials say he slipped or was hit by a falling rock. He died shortly after.

“I'll be fine one moment. It’s almost like having a contraction of terrible pain if something just reminds me of him, anything. I'll just feel like I'm getting stabbed,” Lisa Ragon said.

Since Noah's death, the Ragons have been surrounded by their family and friends.

“The support has been completely humbling and overwhelming," she said.

They say it's clear their son's joyful spirit touched a lot of lives.

"He loved to dance. He would dance in front of anybody … even strangers," Lisa Ragon said. "He was a scientist, an artist, joyful, full of life."

The vibrant 8-year-old had many passions. But he loved his role as a big brother most.

“He protected him. He looked out for him. Very protective of him. Ironically, it was him who we should have been more worried about at the time," Lisa Ragon said.

It’s the first death at the popular hiking area in more than a decade. Garfield County Search and Rescue director Tom Ice said he could only remember two previous deaths at Hanging Lake.

He estimated the last one was 14 to 15 years ago. One death involved a heart attack and the other was because of a fall.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family pay for funeral and other expenses.

The Ragons say their loss is a heart-wrenching reminder that life is fragile and should never be taken for granted.

“Enjoy every single moment," Lisa Ragon said. "Literally. I would have never guessed when I woke up that morning that my son would be gone.”