journal . stories . life

3 ~ May 2022

My backpacking destination was one that I had visited before, on May 14, 2017. This year though I found a lot of snow in the shaded ravine up my planned route. After a few hundred yards of me and the dogs postholing, I realized this was just not going to work, and so turned around. I drove the truck west, down the road, and found a ridge that was on the edge of a snow free southern exposure. I parked the truck and started up that way, mostly avoiding the big snowbanks. I was careful to mark gps route locations, that I could use to come back down and again miss the deep snow pockets. It worked very well, and by 1pm I was at the exact spot I had camped 5 years ago.

A lot can happen in five years, and I am thankful to still have my health, and all three dogs with me. I took my time setting up camp and watching the storm lift on the peaks across the valley.

The very nice thing about spring backpacking at the edge of snow line, is that you don’t have to worry much about fire danger. I once again had left my stove at home, to save weight, and instead heated water in the campfire for my after dinner coffee.

I went to sleep just after 8pm, with the idea of getting up at 2am to shoot the Milky Way on the south ridge. I slept so well that I almost missed it, waking up at 3:30 am. I had an hour of photographing before I noticed the stars begin to dim with the approaching dawn.

At one point while I was on my back staring up at the night sky, a slow moving shooting star angled down towards the southern Milky Way. It is hard not to automatically whisper ‘thank you’ when you see something like that, which of course I did.

It was very cold in the morning, and I used up the firewood I had stacked before the sun came over the ridge.


“Love what you have before life teaches you to love what you lost.”

The eye sees what it has the means of seeing, and its means of seeing are in proportion to the love and desire behind it. - John Burroughs, in Birch Browsings.

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“Wherever you go, go with all your heart"