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Sunday, August 30, 2009

HOM: The Bob II

Jim hadn't been feeling too well before we left. He'd been putting in a lot of hours on his job and dealing with a lot of stress at home, so Wanda, his wife, took me aside before we left and told me that she was worried about him and asked me to look after him, and if he died, please bring his body back out. At that point I stole a line from Bill Jordan and told her that I would -- even if it took two trips. (Jordan was a big guy, well over six foot. Once when he was on a backpack hunt in the boonies with a guide much smaller than he was, Jordan asked the guide, kiddingly, if he'd be able to pack him out if he had a heart attack. "Sure," the guide replied, "I'll just make two trips.") Yeah, I thought it was funnier than she did. ----- Our late start was not a good thing. By the time we reached a campsite that first day, it was late and the nice day had turned to a soaking rain. We'd waded the river, which was a little high because of the rain, were muddy, exhausted, chilled, shaking, and soaked to the skin. Hypothermic is the correct term, I learned later on. We threw the stuff off of the horses, tied a rope between two trees and anchored them to it, then put up Jim's mountain tent and put our stuff inside. Once the horses were tended to and the extra gear covered from the rain, we crawled into the tent and into our sleeping bags, not bothering with food or fire but seeking warmth and rest. Our bags had stayed dry, and this was a lifesaver. Between shivering and the good insulation of goose down, I eventually got warm and slept. So did Jim. We were okay by morning so we had a hot breakfast and then spent some time getting the camp set up properly, arranging the gear the way we wanted it and getting some firewood cut. This was going to be home for the next week. We were a little above the river and the main trail ran along the other bank. It was a pretty spot. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)