Cream Puffs to Beef Jerky

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The wilderness is abuzz in birthday celebration—bird calls echo through trees, snowmelt waterfalls over rocky cliffs, wildflowers tint the verdant hillsides with whites, yellows, and purples, and even the ticks and mosquitos are making an appearance. While some might say the array is simply a showing of spring, but it sure feels like a party.

The wilderness is abuzz in birthday celebration—bird calls echo through trees, snowmelt waterfalls over rocky cliffs, wildflowers tint the verdant hillsides with whites, yellows, and purples, and even the ticks and mosquitos are making an appearance. While some might say the array is simply a showing of spring, but it sure feels like a party.

It’s an exciting time to delve into the valleys, forests, and landscapes that are marking their 50th year of Wilderness, and this first hitch was a wonderful introduction into the Bitterroots.  Erica, Claire (our crew leader), and I went up four different canyons, monitoring campsites and obliterating campfire rings.  The Bitterroots are magnificent—glaciated valleys rise into rocky peaks and cliffs—and the fabulous geography distracted us green interns from our blistered feet, sore shoulders, new callouses, and high-waisted uniform pants. With every canyon, my body is changing from a soft winter cream puff to a sinewy piece of jerky, and I like to think that by the end of this summer I’ll be pretty darn tough.