It’s the day of our departure. Calm, beautiful, the weather forecast is for hot and clear days the first week on the trail. We’ve buttoned-up the trail packs and closed details on the home front for the next three months. Feel, inside, that we’re shedding the village skin and noise. Are eager to embrace our ‘walk about’ and Nature Time. Mingled with this feeling of release are the wilderness challenges we face and the unexpected. Always an engaging alchemy. For example, we hope this first blast of summer heat will finally melt the snowpack in the high peaks and diminish the creeks raging in their canyons before we get to those trail sections. If not, what route will we take? While Sarah and I have a history on the trail and have learned to flow around our individual quirks, new companions are joining us on this trail, both two and four legged. How will those relationships mature in the heat and joy of a day?
One aspect of this wilderness journey is new for us. A fundraiser. Logging ‘Wild Miles for Wild Gift’. We’re sharing our trail story and encouraging those who follow us to pledge an amount per mile of our 500-mile journey that will benefit the better world work of Wild Gift’s leaders. Please visit the Wild Gift website to make a pledge and appreciate the impact the leaders are having in building human communities that are peaceful, inclusive and whose economic development is in balance with the gifts and resources of the natural world.
Pete Land was among the first class of Wild Gift leaders. Today, 15 years later, he shares his impression of our departure on this Home Country Walk About:
The temperature had already climbed into the 80s at 9:00am as Bob and Sarah arrived at their trailhead near Camp Creek, 10 miles west of Hailey. Shade was nowhere to be found. Still, the mood was light and celebratory, as it always is when Bob and Sarah are embarking on a wilderness adventure and leaving behind the hectic scramble of emails and phone calls that consume them in the days leading up to departure.
Joining the party for the first day on the trail were Bob's daughter (and Ketchum's mayor) Nina, along with her husband Andreas. Also, three representatives from Wilderness Ridge Trail Llamas: Beau, the owner; Dennis, a guide; and Tyler, a photographer/videographer. Their friendly demeanor compensated for the persistent scowls worn by their six pack llamas. While the llamas are hardly affectionate creatures, I was impressed by their stoicism. In the face of blistering heat, fully loaded panniers, and a busy crowd of human and canine spectators, those llamas didn't look the least bit concerned.
Just after 10:00am, the party hit the trail. Sarah eagerly led the way, her llama Johnny in tow. Bob and llama Milton were just behind her. They exuded giddy optimism as they set off for 500 miles of hard work. It was as contagious as ever, as I found myself yearning to join them.
Over the next three months, I will be serving as a conduit for Bob and Sarah to post to this blog. They will periodically share their location via GPS, which I will add to the interactive map so you can follow their progress. Every week or so, Bob and Sarah will transfer photos and stories to friends doing resupplies, which I will then compile and post to the blog. If you're subscribed, you will receive new posts automatically in your email inbox. Feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.