Friday, June 13, 2008

Wilderness intoxication

I just came in from hiking up the Kautz Creek Trail with Jill Baum of SCA and Jenn Glyzinski of our NPS trail crew, inspecting the work that our SCA-crews-in-training have been doing there. The smell of fresh cedar and alder, mingled here and there with a faint, acrid whiff of skunk cabbage, is intoxicating. I could stay out on such trails in the sun and the breeze all day and be quite content.

It is in fact therapeutic after this week we've had. Anyone who follows this blog is probably also aware of the Search and Rescue we've been busy with all week. Besides the long hours and the loss of two and a half days at a time of year when most of us are already behind on our work, these events can be emotionally exhausting and it's good to get refreshed in the wilderness. It's worth remembering that that's what drew the individuals in this incident onto the mountain as well--that same intoxication with wilderness, and a choice to accept as their allotment of risk the challenges of hiking in the mountains, rather than, say, sailing or motorcycling or playing football or skiing or driving or any of a thousand other things that don't attract as much attention when they go wrong.

Those are my thoughts as I hike through the sun-dappled forest under the merrily dancing alder leaves, listening to the creek tumble along through the canyon beside me...

More real volunteer news in a bit.

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