Get ready for the Big One…

Obviously, there was no letter last week while a friend and I toiled in the Bridger Wilderness.

Next week the kids – and later on, you – will see something I’ve never attempted before in nearly 14 years of weekly letters: a shift from a single page to a multi-page journal/letter that will recount the day-by-day trip into Wyoming’s back country. It might be much longer than you care to read – so you can be excused if you want to take a pass on page after page after page. That, or perhaps it will be best read as a sleep aid before you call it a night.


July 7, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Man, what a week that was. Holy smokes, Reid in Israel and Tim retrieving a car and rescuing a friend in Colorado. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that (depending on how you define exciting). That’s what makes the world go ‘round, I guess. Thanks for the texts this morning, Reid, about your safe return home. Can’t wait to hear more about it and see all the pictures. Liz did a pretty good job of posting updates on Facebook. The paper this morning had more disheartening news on the near-constant turmoil over in that part of the world, and to be honest about it, all that had crossed my mind the whole time you were there. They’d have to be on a constant state of alert. What’s nuts is that much of the discord hinges largely on differences in religion. I don’t think the Lord intended that to be so. Ellen, tell Tim I’m going to write to Scott about him breaking up one of their finer rods to use as a temporary splint for his friend. I’ll bet he didn’t hesitate to do that. It was good to talk to him yesterday. He seems so matter-of-fact about it. I’d be manic. Or maybe maniacal. The photos of Emma are just precious, Ellen. And her vocabulary just continues to grow day by day. She is such a sweet little person.

Had a great three day weekend, if you like walking and golf. I got up early each day for my constitutional and hit the course later in the day. The weather was very good once Hurricane Arthur blew through here; lower humidity and incredible blue skies. I carried my sticks yesterday on a moderately hilly course in the afternoon heat as kind of a final tune up for this weekend’s backpacking in the Bridger. Rode the bike a couple of times in the cooler evening hours, and that felt good, too. Not ready to give that up just quite yet.

By Tom's estimate, we logged just short of 60 miles in Wyoming. This photo was from day 4, and the 30 minute break was much needed after a nerve-wracking ascent over snow and boulders up the back side of Hailey Pass at the very north side of the Bridger Wilderness.

By Tom’s estimate, we logged just short of 60 miles in Wyoming. This photo was from day 4, and the 30 minute break was much needed after a nerve-wracking ascent over snow and boulders up the back side of Hailey Pass at the very north side of the Bridger Wilderness.

The packing starts today for Wyoming. Got just about everything I’ll need in terms of clothing and food. There is a little more emphasis on weight than in years past. Tom has sort of pounded that into me and it makes a lot of sense. Plus, I’m down about 25 lbs. from the year before last so that’s another positive factor, too. If I can carry a pack in the 30 lb. range that will be very good. The new Osprey pack is much lighter and efficient than the old, old, old Gregory. Rather than use plates, we’ll boil water and mix it with the food stowed in heavy freezer weight plastic bags. Only one utensil, a spork. This is the first time ever – since 1973 to be exact – that I’ve not toted an MSR stove and a couple of heavy bottles of white gas. Instead, I’ll use an airtight stove that uses denatured alcohol, and I’m only taking 10 oz. of that. Ellen, you saw Tom cook with his stove the last time. Only one change of clothes although I might relent and take a second shirt. Reid, I’ll buy all my flies in Pinedale at that little shop next to the brewery restaurant. We stay the first night at the Baymont in Pinedale, and the final night, Ellen, at the luxurious Four Winds in Jackson. I bought a couple of ultralight trekking poles from a place called Gossamer Gear which caters to backpackers obsessed with lightweight materials. I’m not a complete convert, yet, but am slowly moving in that direction. We’re not taking bear spray this year. We really don’t see the need for it. Maybe I can poke a charging grizzly with my new poles. Reid, you ought to plan on this next year. I’ll insist on it.

I’m charging ahead, too, with fishing. On the way to the course on Saturday, I stopped at a Gander Mountain store and stocked up on Gulp baits, popping corks (you tie your bait about 18” from the cork and pull it loudly atop the water), plus a plethora of other fishing gizmos. I will not rest until I catch a redfish and a trout. The ‘experts’ keep saying how easy it is, but then how come your old man is so utterly lame on this? I’ll die trying, believe me. Hey, that wouldn’t be a bad way to go.

Love, Dad

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