I’ll never forget my first official day on the job. Graduating from Crew Members Course in the morning, jumping in the truck with three other rookies and driving three hours to our first fire in the afternoon. Working our first shift ever on the fireline as an overnighter, about a twenty-four-hour day in total, and how good it felt to crawl into bed the next morning around 9:00 am.
Days like these recharge our batteries. Our creativity. Our connection with one another and our incredible surroundings. We laughed about our weirdness, breathed in deep gulps of fresh air, savoured our warm coffee and baileys, and relished in the silent moments.
The trail passed waterfalls, hot springs, villages, farm land, cliffs, forests, and scree slopes. We slept in tea houses, people’s homes, monastery floors, and storage rooms. We met trekkers from all over the world and local people from all over Nepal.
Good guests show respect, stay out of the way of their hosts, and get out of their way safely when necessary. If we don’t show and enforce respect for the residents of our wilderness areas, we run the risk of having great access to vast expanses of empty land.
Our first day was beautiful. Avalanche conditions calmed down after some snow over the weekend, and we were able to travel safely. The first section of the skin track is through the old growth forest. The ancient Western Red Cedar trees along this trail are up to 800 years old and have been spared the fires and logging of nearby areas. They tower over everything, but offer a safe and beautiful path up to the alpine.