Sometimes, When it Rains, it Pours

  • August 14, 2014
  • Posted by Kasia Kieleczawa

Sometimes everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. However what’s important is how we react. And this is exactly the position my crew and I found ourselves in on our trails hitch in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Idaho. Our first campsite was surrounded by bellowing cows trying to figure out where to graze and horses whinnying and kicking trailers. But the views from our work sites were great, and we were excited to be doing trail work, after lots of weed spraying hitches.
We decided since this was our last front country hitch, to give back country camping a trial run. With our project sponsor’s blessing we set out for Hidden Lake on a beautiful Saturday morning. The 4.5 miles went quickly and soon we were looking down at beautiful turquoise water. This place was gorgeous. We picked a location to set-up camp and began. It was hard to find a place to put our tents, with all the hangers, huckleberry bushes and uneven ground. So I was thrilled to find this perfect spot, where my tent fit perfectly between three downed logs in a place with sparse vegetation. I was finished setting up and was shaking out my already dirty Ben Davis, when some angry bees flew at me. Thinking this was just because I had disturbed the bush in which they were feeding I returned to my tent and went to fix my rain fly. Again angry yellow jackets, but then again it doesn’t take much to set them off. So I went to the kitchen to learn how to do a bear hang!
Well, unfortunately we had forgotten to bring a dry bag to put our food in. Luckily, one of our leaders willingly gave up his tent tarp and we made it work. Then we went to filter water, only to find out our group filter was leaking and therefore not effective. But, not to worry we had brought hand pumps and there was a spring nearby. Then, we were heating up jambalaya, which promised to be a delicious treat after our hike. Everything was going perfectly for about 2 hours, until the stove just went out. Despite many efforts to fix it, it wouldn’t stay lit. Dinner was warm enough, and was still delicious. Fortunately, we also had a second stove back at camp and it was decided some members would return to our “base camp” the next day to retrieve it. Then I went back to my tent and like a speeding train, a yellow jacket was on my forearm and I felt stabbing pain. Obviously, I shouted so loud everyone in the forest could probably hear me, but it was mostly from surprise and I managed to keep back the tears. This being my second sting this season, I was very grateful to find I am not deathly allergic for sure.
Cold instant oatmeal for breakfast was edible, and those who couldn’t live without coffee ate the grounds. Ew. But sometimes you just need caffeine. Overall I’m sure we’re all glad this was just practice, and it definitely provided some valuable lessons. But the point is that we still had a great time, and that’s what really matters. There was a bald eagles and sunshine, and lying on the shore. It goes to show that a good crew and a little imagination can make all the difference.


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