I skirted some bare ground. Bare ground in January? Crunchy crunch. Then I saw it. Another homemade backcountry toilet! Gah! Why do I keep finding these? It's like there is some kind of magnetic force that draws me to these structures. People spend a lot of time on them, some even packing real toilet seats in to use. Others are simple wooden one-holers. While I am grateful that some effort is made to contain the waste instead of the dreaded toilet-paper-under-a-rock, I have to wonder just how long these people planned to stay out here. And the color choice of pink for the seat...? Other contraptions have been a lovely mix of blue tarp (for shielding the view?) and bucket. It's never pretty out there, folks.
But what is interesting is that you can think you've heard or seen it all, and you realize that no, you haven't. You can be sitting in the pub next to T, who you've talked to a bunch of times, and he suddenly says, "When I sailed from Fiji to New Zealand.."
What?! Seriously. How have I never known this?
And that's not the only thing.
With the lack of snow, we've been hiking on weekends. This weekend we got permission from some private landowners to hike on their property. Just when you think you've been everywhere, you realize that there is plenty left to see. For example, this big open ridge by Elk Mountain. Who knew all this was out there?
We hiked and hiked and hiked, for hours, because the ridge just kept going. It was warm enough for shorts. Which is pretty awesome, but worrying also. In the distance, the Seven Devils and the Wallowas looked impossibly high. We were surrounded by mountains. I live here! I thought. I really live here! I don't live in a dusty cow town or a place where it rains three hundred and twenty days a year! (both places I have, indeed, lived) I live here!
We found half-frozen ponds, fences, and antler sheds. Also, wolf tracks. But no toilets. That only happens when I'm alone.