You should see my calendar. If I lived by the schedule of events marked on it, then I surely would not be feeling the way I am today. Every weekend is booked with some kind of backpacking adventure. Hells Canyon, Horseshoe Basin, Mount Bonaparte, Salmo-Priest Wilderness... I really had July mapped out.
I could have never anticipated that work would be so crazy! A river of work pouring in every day since May, and I feel like I might drown in it. I'm grateful for my job, but tired of the 10 hour days, and the 6 day weeks.
My days always start the same, the alarm goes off at 4:15am and I awake absolutely shocked that it's time to go to work already. I can't believe it! Snooze is my best friend and my worst enemy until about 4:30 when I finally crawl out of bed. I brush my teeth and tell myself that I will go to bed at 7 tonight, and get 9 hours of sleep....At 4:40 in the damn morning I am already looking forward to going to bed.
I haul ass to work and clock in at 5:00. I am an expert in making it to work right on time. Before I do anything I make coffee. I need it. I want it. I cant possible make it through the day without it. I am an addict.
And the next 10 hours is relatively uneventful. I day dream all day long while my body moves like an automaton going through the motions of work. I feel like a zombie. I have to pee because I've drunk 3 cups of coffee and a bottle of water by 7. I wash my hands and stare at myself in the mirror. Those lines at the corners of my eyes are getting deep. The wrinkles on my forehead are worse. The gray in my beard is spreading like an invasive species, threatening to outnumber and overrun the native blacks and browns and reds that are fighting so gallantly.
Break-time and I fall asleep on a chair with my close-fisted left hand jammed rudely into my left cheek. I dream I am laying on a bed near the checkout lane of a grocery store. I am trying to sleep but the people in line are being noisy as they poke fun at me...
Enough about work. I did manage to make it out on 4th of July weekend. My Uncle Steve and I gallivanting over in Montana at Lolo National Forrest. We saw lots of cool stuff. Pristine rivers and streams, and lakes so clear you could see the bottom.
We saw mountains big and small, some covered in trees, and others jutting slabs of bare gray granite.
We saw tracks from deer and elk and moose and cougar and bear. We saw wildflowers everywhere, some even seemingly growing from solid rock... We saw a couple other backpackers.
We saw a deer that was so unafraid of us that it made me afraid. A large doe crept down the mountainside and into our camp. She sniffed and prowled and moseyed around our camp for nearly a half an hour, and I guessed she must have been fed by humans in the past. She didn't care if I walked right passed her, or told her to go away. Finally we decided it was enough and chased her off yelling loud and doing our best to sound fierce. It made me sad because it showed first hand how human feeding can change a wild animal. If it were a bear, then this story could have ended very differently, and almost surely would have resulted in the bears death at the hands of Forest Rangers.
We spent three days out there in the wilderness, which isn't very long actually. John Muir, the great conservationist and mountaineer, said that to have a true wilderness experience one must spend at least 2 weeks in the wild... I don't know how I could ever get two weeks off. I often fantasize about the long trails; The John Muir Trail, The Wonderland Trail, The Kettle Crest, and even the PCT and CDT... They are just dreams now, but one day I hope to make them happen... For now it's zombie time.