We went, we saw. Places in the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness that most people probably never will. When Executive Director Phil Hough mentioned that we were going on a staff backpacking trip this summer I was stoked. As a new addition to the FSPW team and new to this particular Wilderness, I knew this excursion would be a unique opportunity to connect with my colleagues and this place.
Unique turned out to be the key word.
One element I quickly noticed about our organizational culture is a cavalier reference to places no one else has ever heard of. For example, when I mentioned to a friend that we were going to camp at Heart Lake and Melissa Basin, he quickly retorted that those places were not on the map.
He was partially correct; those places are not specifically listed by those names on the map. But, they are places you can go if you know the right people. FSPW people, that is.
FSPW people like to hike off-trail. This is another element of our culture that I quickly became attuned to. After reaching our lunch spot on the first day of the journey, Phil motioned up towards an imposing ridge noting that it was one of our destinations.
We made it up Vertigo Ridge. We also made it up Scotchman No. 2. We made it down one of the steepest descents ever attempted with a pack into the Ross Creek drainage.
We talked about the meaning of life. We talked about Wilderness. We watched for the Buck Moon, bushwhacked through alders with a moose, and reviewed it all as an A+ over comfort food at the Halfway House.
We spent three days straight together in the woods. In true Wilderness fashion, I think we all became uniquely part of things. Maybe you can convince one of us to take you. It’s not on the map.