There are always a few essentials you can easily pick out of a pack. They lay between the binoculars you were too exhausted to use and the wind-up LED lantern you realized you wouldn’t need when you passed out 7:15. There are the basics, of course. The pair of work pants that could stand alone after digging the pit toilet on day one, the toilet which was not completed until day 3. There are the gloves that began gathering holes on yet another rose bush on day 4, the straw hat that began to fray and curl on day 1, and the shirt that has seen and lost a few battles with a spry can of salmon. All of which create an aura of repugnance that blasts out of the pack when it is taken off the mule’s panniers and rifled through.
However, there is one item that will never be found in that pack. Most times it gets carried in and out without anyone knowing. The only time it is ever seen is when you straightens out your back after taking down yet another hawthorn tree. It is the stare that everyone carries with them. When you let out that big breath of air, look up the trail as it curves around the bend, smile, and think “this time tomorrow, where will we be?”
6200 feet of trail brushed out
Three rock slide areas reinforced
Approx. 100 square feet of rock cribbing
Nine pounds of cheese