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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jacob MacLeod
Thursday, September 26
Our Last Full Day
I woke up shivering on the morning of the 26th, or, more accurately, I finally decided it was late enough to get out of bed. As I lay in my long underwear, socks, shirt, fleece, hat AND gloves, I envied Jessica, a mere ten feet away inside her own tent, with her TWO sleeping bags! Ron had one of his own and loaned his issued bag to Jessica who gets cold (and stays cold) very easily. I kept telling myself that I was having fun between clenched and chattering teeth, all the while thinking two sleeping bags sounded mighty good . . .
The good news is that I was wearing almost all of my warm clothes, so all I had to do to get dressed was to put on my REI pants, shoes, and vest that I used as a pillow, and I was set! Although I wanted to run to the RV and start slurping hot chocolate, as we all were, I was very aware that this was our last whole day together as Team South. I took a few minutes to take in the alpine spendour. The forests out West are so beautiful, and the one in which we were staying was no exception. The morning was still dark. In the East the first rays of light could be seen in rosy hues. The West was still night and the brightest of stars and planets were still visible in the indigo-violet depths of space.
After saying our good mornings, Jessica and I headed off to the RV for our pre-breakfast coffee. Huddling in the RV was our morning tradition, how I dearly miss being with my team, struggling for room, swapping stories and jokes, ALWAYS waiting for a pot to be ready. All that is, except me! I usually had hot chocolate, so I never had to wait on anybody else, and I was given the most beautiful mug in the world by one of the wonderful people we met on the trip, so mine was the finest position to be in for these morning traditions. Perhaps that’s why they were so enjoyable, Ha! Not at all, those things are nice, but it was being with my beloved team that was so special. I enjoyed them when I had an issued enamel cup and was forced to drink coffee because that’s all we had.
After breakfast and after it warmed up a little, we started packing all our things away, trying to make the most of our last day together. After I was done with that, I started cleaning our poor mountain bikes. I found out on the trip that I was the only one who was really into biking. I had only started about a year before, when I got a good quality touring bike, and a subscription to Bicycling Magazine. I was really glad I paid attention to all the articles about mountain bikes and disc brakes, otherwise I don’t know what we would have done. We would have figured something out, we always did, but if felt really good to be needed by the team. I had cleaned and tuned them twice before, and set out to wash them for their final appearance. They had really taken a beating in the back of the truck, they all had scrapes and abrasions, but were still a joy to ride when I tuned them as best I could. By the end of the trip, they all needed the attention of a serious bike mechanic, which they got.
I was soon joined in washing by Jan and we had a good talk about the trip, and about what the future held for both of us. He’s a truly wonderful person, and I feel safe in saying that he inspired all of us in one way or another during the trip.
After lunch, Jessica and I were planning on taking a last hike together as we played chicken on a log, when Jan came over and informed us that they had forgotten part of the route and needed to go back and do that section while there was still daylight. Jessica, true to form, jumped at the opportunity and ran off to drive for them. I was determined to take a last hike in the crisp mountain air, so off I went along a trail a few miles long that lead to the Mill Hollow Ranger Station. I stopped a few times on the trail and just sat and listened and thought about anything and everything as “woods-loafers” are wont to do.
When I got back, the trekkers had returned and Jan was creating a banner to place in the Northern Team’s camp, “Welcome North Team, glad you could make it!” after dinner, Jan nominated me to go with him to count a friendly coup on our Northern half. Although some people thought it would ruin the purpose of the trip if we saw anybody from the other team, we went ahead. With the help of Richard and his wife, Marsha, we found their camp and scoped it out.
After they dropped us back off at the car, Jan and I trotted down the road to their camp and sat down, just out of sight, and plotted. Unlike our team, the Northerners were active quite late, but we waited until they had left the vehicles and, while I watched, Jan placed the banner in their RV!! Giggling with glee and patting each other on the back for living up to our reputations as “sneaky little bastards,” we ran back to the waiting Honda Pilot, and headed back home.
We had another good talk on the way back, I learned about how stressful his role had been as the trek team leader. My heart went out to the guy, for I never once saw him lose his temper, hint at despair, or fail to maintain an excellent attitude in any way, true ideals for all of us.
Back at camp, we were hailed by Lorie, and after telling the story to her, we went to our respective tents. I saw Jessica had used her last glow stick, which was hanging inside her tent. I took this as a welcoming sign, so I “knocked,” and told her the story. She seemed pleased with the outcome despite earlier misgivings.
for Thursday, September 26
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jacob MacLeod
Jake hikes through the sandstone wonderland of the Wave formation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Where's your hat, Jake?

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List of All Journal Entries
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Saturday, September 28
Jacob MacLeod
National Public Lands Day
   >> more...

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Friday, September 27
Jacob MacLeod
Together Again!!
   >> more...

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Thursday, September 26
Jacob MacLeod
Our Last Full Day
   >> more...

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Sunday, September 22
Jacob MacLeod
Letter to My Family
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Thursday, September 5
Jacob MacLeod
My Bird List for the Trek
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 18
Jacob MacLeod
I Got It!!
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 15
Jacob MacLeod
Exelsior
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Monday, August 12
Jacob MacLeod
The Lesson at Eagle Peak
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Sunday, August 11
Jacob MacLeod
Snow Lake
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Thursday, August 8
Jacob MacLeod
"Attack of the Nine-Million Flies!"
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Sunday, August 4
Jacob MacLeod
Backpacking at Last
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Friday, August 2
Jacob MacLeod
El Paso and Back
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Thursday, August 1
Jacob MacLeod
A Rocky Place
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Wednesday, July 31
Jacob MacLeod
Day 1 Highlight
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Wednesday, July 31
Jacob MacLeod
The Trek Begins
   >> more...

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Tuesday, July 30
Jacob MacLeod
To the Mexican Border
   >> more...

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Sunday, July 28
Jacob MacLeod
Training Week
   >> more...








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