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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Michelle Williams
Friday, August 23
A Challenging Day
The last few days are sort of a blur of cold and rain. On the 21st we camped at the Nez Pierce trailhead, driving in rain, arriving in rain, cooking in rain, sleeping in cold, cold rain. Dinner actually rocked- Cheryl and I took over the kitchen and cut pounds and pounds of veggies for a stir fry as Bob Ashley (we call him Bashley) gave us a geography lesson. It was wonderful. He talked about the earliest tribes down in South America, about the Vikings, and then finally about the situation in Afghanistan and all the other -stans, about the genocide in Rwanda and the troubles in Iran. I need to pick his brain more often, as this was the highlight of my week. Sometimes it feels like all we do is drive and cook and clean and set up tents and break down tents. Most of the time, we are all thrilled to be here, but every now and then when we havenít been out of camp for a few days, we all start to go stir-crazy. Iím feeling that now, but it was even worse the night we were at the Nez Pierce trailhead. The minute we pulled in, I was ready to leave. Not the trek itself, but certainly the site. I donít know what it was but being there made me feel sad and unsettled. By day it must have been woody and pretty but that night it was covered with eerie mist and cold rain and I was unhappy the whole time we were there. I had terrible nightmares, although I couldnít remember them, and woke to the same foggy darkness as the day before.

I was telling Bob V. about this last night, about my feelings the night before, as we sat on a lodge pole fence, staring at the full moon over the lake here at Homestake just east of Butte. I told him that the minute I drove away from the site, I felt better. He said that maybe it was an Indian burial ground of some sort, but that certainly it was a place I was not supposed to be, for one reason or another. I couldnít agree more. Iím still feeling a little stir-crazy, but that is mostly because I havenít exercised in three or four days. The trek team has been on an outfitted horse trip, with no extra horses, and the support team has not had a chance to get out of camp. Iím going to try to fit some yoga in today, or maybe a run, and I know Iíll feel better then. Iím used to exercising five or six times a week, be it the gym or yoga, and when I donít exercise it directly affects my emotional state. ButÖ the other thing that makes me feel good is writingÖ so here I am. Weíve not had access to the tech trailer in a few days either, due to no signal and then dish problems, so we are journaling off-line with the hopes of uploading as soon as our tech problems are solved.

Last night we camped here at Homestake which was a thriving mining camp in the 1880ís. Some 400 people lived here, with a flag railroad stop, many mining families, and a boarding house for the single miners that sold 21 meals for $5. A flag railroad stop means that rather than an actual platform, the miners would go out to the tracks and wave a flag if they wanted to hitch a ride on the train. There are pictures of a thriving community that is now a barren hillside with only the tracks and a few foundations remaining. This morning, our tents are still perched on little hills surrounding the lake, and it turns out that these hills were the dirt that the railroad company tossed here when they were building the railroad. They are now covered with hundred-year-old trees. Last night I took a walk by moonlight down the shore of the lake and maybe, just maybe saw a lynx but itís more likely I saw a marten, which is a larger animal in the weasel family. Lynx are endangered to the point that most people have never seen them.

Shots being fired in the woods beyond. That perfectly explains this day. I am now writing at our latest campsite. I donít even know where we are, but I have to say, this day started badly and went downhill from there. I am almost hesitant to write about it, but no one would believe that every day on this trek is wonderful, right? Today got so bad that I screamed ďIíM GOING CRAZYĒ as I ran down a mountain. Suffice to say, the support team spent several hours driving to and then waiting in a turnoff on a mountain road, and then got lost for several more hours looking for our campsite, due to conflicting maps and directions. We left camp this morning before 11, and would have left before 10 had we not been waiting for a couple of reporters, and did not get to our next camp until after 4, at which time we had to set up camp and start dinner. No time to exercise, hours and hours in cars, waiting, frustrated. I mean, sometimes that is just part of my job, but today was my breaking point. I got so upset that Iím now exhausted, thinking about crawling into my tent to end this day before it gets worse.

We are camped in what, we are finding out, is the hangout for young locals who come here to drink beer, smash their bottles on the ground, burn fires next to trees, and shoot their guns into the woods. We finally found this spot, after the hours in the cars, and as we started to set up camp two cars pulled up and parked across the road. Three guys got out and started randomly shooting their guns into the wood. Ah, me- the sounds of nature.

However, there is redemption. First of all, the trekkers got back, and listened and sympathized with us, and that was really nice considering they must be exhausted. So we are all here together. Secondly, even though our campsite is trashed and gross, it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and a terrific sunset is in the works. And the demolition of this site, with trash and broken glass and burned and carved trees and grass so trampled it may never get healthy, only serves to remind me how important this trek is. How important it is to educate as many people as possible, so the kids of the kids who use this site will also have a chance to come drink beer and smooch their sweethearts, here in this beautiful country.
for Friday, August 23
North South Both




Biographical
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Team: North
Michelle Williams
No rest for the wicked-- Michelle Williams spends a day at the office, typing up journal entries for the trekkers

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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 19
Michelle Williams
Back on the Green River
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Tuesday, September 17
Michelle Williams
Two Days In A Canoe
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Monday, September 16
Michelle Williams
Jammie Pants and a Wood Cabin
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Saturday, September 14
Michelle Williams
Wild Horses!
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Friday, September 13
Michelle Williams
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Tuesday, September 10
Michelle Williams
Reflections, September 10, 2002
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Sunday, September 8
Michelle Williams
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Saturday, September 7
Michelle Williams
Saturday Night Near Jackson Hole
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Thursday, September 5
Michelle Williams
Yellowstone
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Wednesday, September 4
Michelle Williams
Is it Wednesday?
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Sunday, September 1
Michelle Williams
Fall In Idaho
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Saturday, August 31
Michelle Williams
Saturday Morning, Day 32
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Thursday, August 29
Michelle Williams
Hump Day
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Wednesday, August 28
Michelle Williams
A Ghost Town, A Dug-out Canoe, A Birthday and A Compound Fracture
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Monday, August 26
Michelle Williams
Oh, Happy Day
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Sunday, August 25
Michelle Williams
Sunday, August 25th
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Saturday, August 24
Michelle Williams
A Better Day Already
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Friday, August 23
Michelle Williams
A Challenging Day
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Wednesday, August 21
Michelle Williams
Wednesday, August 21
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Tuesday, August 20
Michelle Williams
Tuesday, August 20
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Monday, August 19
Michelle Williams
Monday, August 19
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Sunday, August 18
Michelle Williams
Easy Like...
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Saturday, August 17
Michelle Williams
More on Saturday, August 17th
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Saturday, August 17
Michelle Williams
Saturday, August 17th
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Thursday, August 15
Michelle Williams
Thursday, August 15th
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Wednesday, August 14
Michelle Williams
My Top Ten List
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Tuesday, August 13
Michelle Williams
Freezing and Fires
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Monday, August 12
Michelle Williams
Explore the River
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Saturday, August 10
Michelle Williams
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Friday, August 9
Michelle Williams
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Thursday, August 8
Michelle Williams
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