End of the Beginning

Happy September. I assure you that I am not dead, that the Boundary Waters and the Superior Hiking Trail and Isle Royale and Yellowstone were all wildly unsuccessful at claiming my life.

Not to say that there weren’t a few close calls… I almost broke off my hand when I dropped a canoe on it while doing the Wood Horse portage. The guys on my Isle Royale trip were so beefy, tall and huge that I was convinced they would eat me alive if we didn’t bring enough food. I led a small army of twelve, twelve people along the Superior Hiking Trail, the mere logistics of which are enough to explode the skulls of weaker trail guides.

And Yellowstone, dear Yellowstone. I could tell you about how we stole a backpack from the girls’ backpacking group, and how I thought they would flay us alive when our paths crossed halfway through our trips… or how we had to detour around a buffalo who was standing in our trail, carefully picking a path through thermals and mud pots and cracked sulfur earth in the middle of a thunderstorm.

I could tell you about how we spent half an hour watching a pack of wolves no more than 100 feet away from us, and how a windstorm kicked up and began knocking over dead trees that narrowly missed hitting my guys.

Seriously, I could tell you all about how I fought off the trials of the wilderness, how I narrowly escaped death and destruction at every turn, except that this would be a gross mischaracterization of the last three months. My summer, it was brilliant and lovely and it exceeded my wildest expectations. I spent more than forty days guiding trips in the wilderness, sure, and I traveled out West no less than three times, but as with any good story the real magic was written between the lines.

And now I’m back, back here in Minneapolis, back here in civilization, in the land of ice water and abundant toothpaste and expensive scotch. Gone are the nights where the Milky Way gleams across the sky and the mornings where we shake frozen dew from our tent. No longer do I need to pump my water from a stream or ration my toilet paper or look at dandelion leaves in a special way.

So yes. I’m here for now, but in a few short weeks I’ll pack up this circus to move back to Oregon for more adventures. I’m really looking forward to firing up the smelters on Brainside Out again, churning out some websites and other new hotness, but in many ways I feel like my heart is going to be in stasis for the next three months.

Anywho, welcome to Dane-O-Matic.