I wake to see stars twinkling in the dark of morning to make coffee and eat the fresh scones Eli makes at 4:30 am in our back-country oven. Venus and Jupiter shine their brightest in the unnoticeable rays of early sunlight.
By 5:00 am it’s time to start hiking. The sun rises a few minutes later each day in ever-changing pinks and purples and yellows and oranges while we stretch our warmed muscles and answer decidedly odd questions like, ‘If you could ride in any shaped vehicle, what would that shape be?’ with answers like “a clear fishbowl” or “a giant clump of grass for disguised roadside camping” (which ironically wouldn’t be that disguise-able at all if it were a vehicle.) We work in a place so remote we are two hours from phone service by car, with three more miles by foot into the back country just to arrive at our base camp, plus another mile for the morning commute to the work site.
Yesterday I saw a baby moose swimming in a beaver pond while her mother watched and eyed us from afar. Most mornings, I see big horn sheep far up on a ridge of the San Juans – my summer office. Sheep and moose hang out in my office… no, that’s wrong – it’s not my office at all. I borrow sheep and moose habitat to use as an office for a very short time.
I am fortunate to return after hard laborious work to my most luxurious back country home, with two Chef Master stoves, an oven, a huge tarp for shelter, and get this: camp chairs! Our bathroom is a bucket with a view, better than the plain walls of a conventional bathroom any day.
I get to sleep outside. I get to work in the rain and hail and sometimes snow (yes, snow!). I get to wake up before dawn and fall asleep before the sun is even ready to set. I get to say goodbye to cellphones and reception and gadgets for NINE days in a row! And because of all this, I realize, I am blessed.