The time finally came. After months — some full of snow and wind — of dreaming of mountain time with friends, we left Monday for four nights and five days in the Bighorns. (I wrote this before we left in preparation for you to read it Thursday).
Each year, we’ve made sure to cover parts of the trail on which we’ve never been. For example, one of the women may have spent a lot of time in one particular spot, but the other three have not. Along the way, at least one of us will be in spots we’ve never explored.
While the dates for our trip have been (roughly) planned for awhile, the details of our trip remained more flexible. But July 25 we gathered over a drink and a map to figure out where exactly we were going and what we each needed to bring.
We divvied up food duties and gear duties. Last year I brought frozen pulled pork, which thawed in time for the second night’s dinner, and instant mashed potatoes. What a great treat on the mountains. I also am responsible for the first day’s lunch — wraps and fruit — and the last day’s breakfast, which consists of banana bread and peanut butter.
We always joke that everything tastes better on the mountain. Oranges taste sweeter and juicier, instant potatoes more savory. Food you don’t even particularly like — or at least wouldn’t grab off a shelf at home — tastes pretty darn good after a hard day on the trail (except onions, according to some of my companions).
Once we divided duties, we met Sunday for a packing party. We went over all our gear one more time, packed up our snacks and got pumped for Monday morning, when we made our way up the hill.
We also joked about the rules of our hike (don’t worry, they are fun rules — and yes, I know that’s kind of a contradiction of terms). Without letting you in on all our fun, I will tell you that one “rule” is that we all have to bring a surprise. Sometimes that’s a game, other times that has meant a treat to be consumed at the end of a long day of hiking or in the middle of an especially steep hill. You can only imagine the surprises we’ve come up with over the last few years of treks.
Songs are sung, games are played and sometimes tears are shed (we have some pretty intense conversations in the wilderness).
Beyond the gear, the food and the surprises, however, the best part of the trek cannot be imagined from lower elevations. We just have to let the trip unfold, enjoy the raucous laughter and repeat ridiculous things said at 10,000 feet over the next 12 months. I know, though, that each annual trek will be another one to remember and dream about when the snow starts to fly.
Anyway, the mountains were calling, so off we went.