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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Bob Van Deven
Wednesday, August 21
People
It's 10:00 AM at Whitehouse campground on the Deer Lodge National Forest and a sunlit fog is advancing on the hills. Cheryl is sitting across from me, her stomach growling like a cornered wolverine. Unlike those of us who slept late, Cheryl was up at 5:30 making sack lunches for the trekkers and she only had time to eat a bagel. Now that the trekkers have departed we find ourselves with a couple hours of free time and both of us are trying to put some content on the website before breaking camp. Outside a pair of robins warily circles the generator, snapping up bugs displaced by six vehicles and innumerable footsteps.

We arrived yesterday evening just in time for a violent thunderstorm and managed to stake the bright yellow National Geographic canopies over our gear before the heavy rain came down. Betsy, a reporter from the Boulder area, pitched in while asking questions about the trek. I’ve noticed reporters in Montana are as not as tightly wound as journalists elsewhere--Betsy ate dinner with us and spent several hours by the campfire, later retiring to an inflatable mattress beside her truck while Belle, her sweet-tempered boxer, stood guard. The storm lasted less than half an hour and as it churned eastward a rainbow materialized over the pines.

When I began this trek I thought mostly about the places I'd visit, the landscapes of our public domain and how they might be put to various purposes or left to their own. Now that I've been bouncing from campground to campground for three weeks I think more about the people I've met, those along the way and especially those on my team. Whatever success we've achieved so far, whatever hurdles we've cleared, can only be attributed to the fleece-bundled gypsies who roll out of their tents every morning, put on the percolator, and make it happen. Cheryl Fusco, our logistics coordinator, always seems to be unloading bins, cooking, staking tents, or cheerfully dragging a dozen duffle bags out of the trailer. She knows where everything is--mallets, tarps, lanterns, extension cords--and if you wait a moment she'll fetch it for you. I've never seen someone slog through a sixteen hour day with more grace and equanimity than Cheryl. She likes tequila--Anejo or Patron--and when she's in her tent she's probably listening to the soundtrack from O Brother Where Art Thou? In the kitchen she's often helping Paul, who until recently was our main cook.

Paul is a retired oceanographer with a Huntsville drawl and the patience of a sequoia. He was scheduled to leave a few days ago after the arrival of our new cook, Sidna, but told us he'd decided to stay, an announcement greeted by applause around the campfire. It's not easy cooking for a mob of people who have brought their own tastes from as far away as Anchorage and Tucson, but Paul has never made a meal that wasn't devoured with praise. Somehow he threads the daily maze of chores, errands, and special requests with ease, never bruising egos or raising his voice.

I wish I had time to write about everyone else on the team because they're all incredible--hard working, fun, easy to get along with, and tolerant. But it's time to break camp. There's a chance of rain for the next five days and clouds are hanging low over the mountains. Stay tuned.

--Bob
for Wednesday, August 21
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Bob Van Deven
Bob Van Deven

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List of All Journal Entries
•
Monday, January 6
Bob Van Deven
Sunny Weather
   >> more...

•
Sunday, December 1
Bob Van Deven
   >> more...

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Wednesday, October 9
Bob Van Deven
The End of the Journey
   >> more...

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Friday, September 20
Bob Van Deven
A Little News
   >> more...

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Monday, September 2
Bob Van Deven
Middle Ground
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 28
Bob Van Deven
Disasters and other fun
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 21
Bob Van Deven
People
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 17
Bob Van Deven
August 17 or Thereabouts
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 10
Bob Van Deven
AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 1
Bob Van Deven
   >> more...








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