Top Ten Things We Want to Remember (or Forget)

Ok, there’s more than 10. Too many memorable things happened on our short little trip (NOLS Lightweight Rocky Mountain Backpacking)
1. amoeba water/shrimp water
2. lake forging
3. animal sightings: grouse, chipmunks,nutcrackers, deer, pika, and marmot, osprey, red tail hawks, a seagull?!, meese (two moose)
4. rock fall and pock marks in the glacier
5. rock climbers climbing, yelling, carrying huge packs
6. search and rescue
7. battered and blistered feet
8. lightening storm overhead
9. always being on the move (never have I been in motion for that many hours over that many days)
10. student evac
11. running into other NOLS instructors on the trail
12. chatting with seasoned thru hikers
13. passing through sheep pastures and being herded by dogs
14. hummingbird escorts

Average Morning on a NOLS Course

Average Morning on a NOLS Course
0600 Wake up to stinky moist socks and wet droopy tent
0601 Find yourself half off sleeping pad cause you’re on a rocky slope
0615 Try to stuff giant sleeping bag into compression sack which is like trying to get a cat into bathwater with sunburnt sun bumpy hands and ouchy cuticle cracked fingers
0617 Pull off comfy “sleep socks” and put on aforementioned wet stinky socks
0620 Put on wet shoes
0625 Throw pack explosion that multipled itself while you were sleeping out the tent door
0626 Crawl out of tent as gracefully as you can
0627 Remember to look for and put on gaiters
0628 Repeat shoe process
0629 Pack up pack explosion while trying to locate chapstick and sunblock
0630 Remember to bandage multiple blisters and tape up toe nails hanging on for dear life
0631 Repeat shoe process
0634 Take down tent
0634 Lose tent stake in grass
0637 Stuff yucky wet tent into pack
0639 Stumble uphill to kitchen far far away (why do kitchens always end up uphill??)
0640 Crash bear bag onto ground after undoing impossible knot that braided itself during the night
0641 Note to self: must repair huge gash in bear hang bag
0645 Decide between granola and huevos rancheros
0646 Try to locate lighter
0647 Stare at dirty bowl and spoon
0648 Contemplate skipping breakfast
0658 Shovel food down as quick as you can
0715 Collect amoeba water (or some other type of water with mysterious but visible live swimmers in it)
0720 Remember you forgot to start aquamira
0746 Emergency! Need to “find tent stake, bear spray and soap asap”
0756 Stroll back into camp knowing that it’ll be 24 hours before you’ll have to “dig another hole”.
0757 Smear on sunblock that won’t rub in
0758 You’ve made it! You’re on time. We’ll be ready to roll at 8am sharp!
0800 Somebody has to go potty

NOLS: Not Just a Walk in the Woods

I’ve made it! I survived NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) Lightweight Rocky Mountain Backpacking! What a great and memorable time I had in Wyoming. Two weeks of carrying my food, water and shelter around. Two weeks of digging cat holes and no showers. Two weeks of beautiful scenery and gorgeous night skies. Two weeks of back to basics.
I learned some concrete skills:
1. pooping in the woods, digging cat holes
2. existing in bear country, bear hangs
3. stream crossings
4. cooking on cat can stoves with denatured alcohol
I learned to really appreciate the conveniences of modern life when I got back:
1. having clear running water at my disposal
2. clean, dry feet
3. tissues! for that perpetually runny nose out in the field
4. food that is not nuts
5. going to the bathroom whenever without having to plan and/or dig a hole
6. being able to see at night without strapping a light to my head
7. the ability to talk to people via cell phone
8. lunch
9. living life without having to contemplate turning the corner and running into a bear
10. a warm cozy bed