I figure me and the kid hike about 500 to 700 miles a year, give or take a mile or two here and there. This year we’ve done eight backcountry overnighters, which doesn’t seem like it was enough.
We had nice 50-miler planned through the north end of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It was a key-swap hike with a friend who is working on a book. He wanted to trace a hike that a fella did about 45 years ago and I wanted to trace a journey Mel Ruder did a little more than 50 years ago.
He’d go one way, we’d go the other, so we didn’t have to shuttle cars for hours on end.
We had all the plans in place, but the fires had other ideas. They burned over a big chunk of his route and burned over a smaller chunk of mine, so we’ll give it another go next year.
I hoped to do it in October, but the days are getting shorter and shorter and the snow on the passes is getting deeper and deeper this fall, so that’s that.
I did overhear some interesting conversations on the trail this year.
I wasn’t eavesdropping, to be sure, but while taking a picture up at Granite Park, there was a couple on the other side of the trees having a “serious” conversation, when the guy told the woman, “I’m sorry, I just can’t go on with our relationship that long without having sex.”
It was all I could do to keep from peeking through the trees to see what the couple looked like. I’m sure they would have appreciated my unsolicited advice, which, when it comes to intimacy, has a tendency to err on the side of the obscene. You know, just for fun and shock value.
The second overheard conversation was down near the oxbow at McDonald Creek. Most folks don’t hike the oxbow, because it hasn’t got the best views. But if you’re a birder, it’s a fun place to go in the spring and early summer because it’s full of warblers, which is to say, I go there quite a bit.
At any rate, this young girl, maybe 10 or 12 was telling her mother about ticks.
“The camp counselor said we could check ourselves for ticks when we got back from our hike in private,” the girl explained to her mother.
I couldn’t help but smile, having survived a tick bite or two in my day, including, shall we say, bites of an extremely intimate nature.
I wish I could tell you the story, but as you can imagine, it borders all too close to the obscene. Maybe if I’m blabbing about it to a friend while hiking in the woods, you’ll overhear it.
And wouldn’t that be, a, um, treat.
Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.