- June 06, 2017
- Posted by Chris Harris
Mile 0: We pulled up to the parking lot not knowing what to expect of our first backcountry hitch. The gravel road that led to the Bear Trap Canyon Trailhead alluded to some of the scenery that was ahead and it was impressive. Having just stuffed our backpacks to the max with all the group gear we could, I felt that all our packs had to weigh at least 50 pounds. We saddled up and began to plod on, ready for what was ahead.
Mile 1: Okay, certainly there has to be a better way to get a pack on and off without almost falling over and someone please tell me how to tighten my straps so that my pack isn’t trying to slice through my shoulders like a dull knife through frozen cheese. I wonder how much farther it is…
Mile 2: Well, not much has changed except that I can no longer feel my shoulders or hips. We’ve seen some incredible views so far but I find it hard to look at them because I’m constantly looking at the tread trying not to trip and fall. Who said we should bring the rock bar again?? When someone asks how much further I hear someone else say, “bout a mile or so…”.
Mile 3: This is it… Did MCC know they hired a deadbeat backpacker? I feel like all the muscles in my body are burning and it can only be a matter of time before I have to ask for a break. I really don’t want to be the person that holds this hitch up. I keep looking longingly up the trail for any signs of our camp.
Just after mile 3: Hallelujah we’ve made it!! Right when I thought we could go no farther we rolled into our beautiful home for the week. Cottonwood trees and Aspen swayed in the wind and Bear Trap Creek was flowing wildly into the Madison River. I love my job.
During the remainder of our hitch we hiked at least 3 miles every day from our camp to various work sites. Slowly I could see everyone’s confidence growing, including my own, about living and working in the backcountry. We all became stronger hikers and learned a lot of tricks to daily backcountry chores. I was very proud of myself and everyone else for taking this task on without complaint. We all pushed on mile after mile through all of our aches and pains and accomplished our goal.
However, if I had one piece of advice from that week it’s to stop and look up once in a while. Enjoy where you’re at, and what you are doing. Taking beauty breaks is essential to keeping up morale and reminding yourself of the amazing places you get to work in.
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