|Good outdoors partners don't complain about small tents.|
For over twenty years I fought fires on twenty-person crews. Because we were only skilled amateurs, we were cobbled together from different parks and forests, often not knowing each other until we met up at the airport. Sometimes a crew would gel, like the 1989 Cottonwood Creek fire, where we gave each other fire nicknames (Mine was Target, for a tree that fell nearby) and spent the weeks spiked out far from civilization. Other times a crew would completely fracture, like the dismal SO Cal experience near Cabazon, where lazy young men sat down complaining they were tired. Once on an Alaska crew, I met another Alaska crew at the airport. The second crew raved about how close they had become. I was currently hiding from my crew because I could not stand them.
|Good outdoors partners know that yoga is important in the backcountry.|
The right outdoors partner makes the trip. I spent weeks in a kayak with C, who cheerfully shrugged off the torrential rain that blasted our heads and the gloves-and-hat wearing June nights under a tarp. On another trip, my co-worker alienated everyone until in exasperation the crew leader paid for a thousand dollar floatplane freedom flight for him. I've witnessed meltdowns and freak-outs and people who screamed because we lifted the pot to see if the rice was done. Then there were the ones who stayed cool under pressure, who slid the bullet into the magazine when the bear surprised us on the trail (we didn't have to shoot, thankfully) and the enablers who allowed me to go see what was around the bend.
|I don't know how you could have a bad outdoors partner in a place like this.|
|Good outdoors partners like B. don't care if it's not sunny|
|A good outdoors partner knows when to chill by the plant press.|
So you just never know when you sign up for something. The wilderness can bring out both the good and bad in everyone. We all have our moments when we are freezing, tired, or just crankypants in general. The trail doesn't care, and our partners somehow put up with us. I apologize in advance to my PCT buddy for any tantrums that may occur.
Other than that, I've been throwing pieces of gear in the air and reveling in how light they are. I'll post some reviews soon. Hike on.