Thursday, October 13, 2011

Losing It

Yesterday a shoe appeared on my desk. It wasn't just any shoe. It was my Merrell Pace Glove, lost months ago in the wilderness, mysteriously reappearing at the trailhead. I had hung on to its mate, hoping beyond all reason that somehow the wandering shoe would come back to me. Where it has been, I can only imagine.

This started me thinking of things I have lost in the wilderness. Two Leathermen (in the same wilderness. Hmm). A pair of sunglasses, left hanging on a tree on a tiny island in Klag Bay, Alaska. A first aid kit. Mittens. Pepper spray.

And things I've found: Barbie doll heads (very disturbing). A rubber chicken. Sunglasses (not mine). Headlamps. Knives (not Leathermen). Old crosscut saws. Lipstick. Shoes. Hammocks. A sleeping bag. A fire shelter. Tarps ad nauseum. Underwear. Books.

And things I've forgotten while packing and realized with a sinking feeling as I approached the campsite or trail: Tent poles. Sleeping bag. Stove fuel. The food that was in the fridge to bring. Hiking boots. Hiking boots that match.

Any other stories out there of things forgotten, lost or found?


  1. I can't believe your shoe came back to you!!! Was it found by someone you know, or did it just appear there?

    I lost my nail clippers on Crow Pass this summer. I've found so many things that I can't even remember. The most annoying thing was one of those bear bells Euro hikers use. Jingled the remaining 20 miles of our trip :( I tried to give it away to other hikers, but they just laughed and told me those things are useless.

  2. I'm impressed that you kept the lone shoe long enough for the mate to reappear. Seems like they often don't show up until you've tossed out the lone survivor. Cool.

    For some reason I lose things more often in the urban setting than the wild one. A favorite headband falls out of the car unnoticed, a fanny pack gets left on the shuttle van (with the airline tickets inside), a coat at a restaurant, a key inside the washing machine (turned up a year later when the machine was serviced).

  3. Oh great Karen, guess my children should just toss their bear bells in the garbage. My Hubby and I got them for the kids for when we are huckleberry pickin. Not sure if we got them becuase we thought it would at least alert a bear, or if it was easier to know where are kids were at in the patch of berries. They are usually stuffing their mouths with berries or just plain busy pickin that they rarely ever say a word.

    Guess we can be considered those "Euro" pickers/hikers.

    I don't think I have ever lost anything while camping, but have forgotten plenty of stuff. Mine is usually a case of forgetting hiking or running shoes. Got halfway to a run I was doing in April with my woolie slippers on. And another time I picked huckleberries in my Chacos forgetting my hiking shoes at home.

    Our summer property is near an Air Force survival camp area, we usually find all kinds of cool headlamps and things, but then also finding left over tarps and the occasional parachute material that they forget to take with them. They are not famous for remembering Leave No Trace rules.

    Marre glad your shoe was found!

  4. I dropped a ring of keys on the ground and they just disappeared. I still think they fell into a wormhole and are now in another dimension.

    I found Tymon Horn hiding behind the Biddle house on a night when the temperature was below zero. He was five and had wondered away with no coat or hat. He is now in collage.

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  6. I'm surprised you haven't found more balloons. I have found so many balloons!!!

    I don't know if any of the others have relayed this story to you, but my last week in the Lakes Basin in 2010, I cleaned up after a bunch of hillbilly partiers who built a MASSIVE fire ring and trampled all of the veg with their stock. There, on a little rock, left for me, was a "shit-shovel" and a little green, Shrek toy. I picked up and inspected the shrek toy out of curiosity. I realized that it was some sort of mechanism, so I squeezed it, and it shot water right in my face. Under it was a note that said, "Leave no Trace!"


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