Sunday, August 1, 2010

Backcountry Backpacking

Once on a warm summer day, a family set off to have an adventure at the crown of the continent, Glacier National Park. 

To really get to the heart of the crown, they walked through old burns and forests with dense underbrush. 

Every few minutes Sunshine blew her bear whistle and Little Mother sang a friendly bear song to let the bears and wolf we passed know our location.  Ladybug’s sharp eyes kept everyone supplied with berries.  There were strawberries smaller than their pinky nail, bursting with honeyed sweetness; raspberries, not fully ripe but tart and tangy; and huckleberries, plump and purple, dripping with juice. 

Over 5 miles into the wilderness, they camped near Logging Lake.  This is one of the few Loon Lakes.  Loons are very picky about where they live, so when you are at a Loon Lake, you are at a very special spot.  The family woke to their calls echoing across the lake each morning.
The children learned to hang their food high in the air, way way above their dad’s head. They went to the bathroom in a special pit.  Everything the family did was to preserve and protect the plants and animals in this special place.   There was an endless supply of craft materials to create with.

They set up shop, buying and selling craft materials.

The deer did not mind the company.  In fact, they sought it out throughout the day.

They ate with the children and swam with them. 

The Ladybug spent all her time fishing and catching frogs. 

The Little Mother and Sunshine became Pocahontas and her dog Lily.  They spent most of their time in their underwear in the Lake. 

The poor mom became a victim of the perfect ecosystem. 

The mossquitos missed human flesh and didn’t mind the poisionous Deet at all.  They ate and ate and ate the poor mom till she was quite sucked dry.

 One night a beautiful storm hit the mountain valley.  The mom and the Ladybug were awakened in their tent by bright flashes of light and violent shaking claps that echoed over and over the lake.  The mom leaped out of the tent to save their drying belongings.  She met the dad who left the other tent.  They raced around then escaped soggily back to comfort frightened children in the tents.  The Ladybug clung to the mother and hid her head.  In the other tent, the Little Mother did the same to the dad.  The mother threw back her head and laughed at the storm.  Soon the Ladybug was laughing too.  They laid and listened to the storm till the tent started to drip on their heads.  Soon several inches gathered around their feet and above their heads.  Their packing mattresses kept them just above the flood that gathered around their bodies.  They giggled till the downpour turned to a drizzle.  They left their floating tent and wandered around the dark for a while.  Realizing that they were breaking the bear rules, they knocked on the other tent, and asked sanctuary.  Everyone scooted over till there was room, and the dad gave his sleeping bag to the mom and the Ladybug to share.  Everyone slept till late in the morning.

 They all gained a bit more courage.  Well, all but the Dad.  It's pretty brave taking a bug hating wife and 3 little girls under 60 pounds carrying 30 pound packs deep into bear country.  The Mom faced her bug nemesis with quiet acceptance, Ladybug from facing the storm, and Little Mother and Sunshine from packing and hiking longer than they thought they were capable of.   But, that’s not surprising.  After all, anytime you go into nature, you return with more than you were looking for.

1 comment:

  1. True, one often leaves with more than one brought.