Matchsticks

Recall that I love wilderness camping, in most of its forms.

Burn areas are not high on my list of favorite places – not because they're ugly (I actually find them very pretty and interesting ecosystems, and I love spending time in them) – but because when the wind blows, trees fall down and kill people, probably. At least that's what I have nightmares about.

We had no choice on this one, which is located high up in the Mid Creek drainage in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It was getting late, and we'd just ran into a grizzly sow and cubs on the trail, who were now above us in the relatively narrow drainage. We just didn't have the enthusiasm to continue walking up to find a better place, because visual inspection of the upper drainage indicated that it might be a long time until we found a better place. This whole area was burned in the Big Bob Fires of 2007.

Fortunately, the wind was nil that evening, and in spite of the trees creeking and groaning, I didn't have any nightmares, and found this to be one of the more beautiful and peaceful pitches I've ever had. New spruce popping up, lots of wildflowers, and Mid Creek babbling nearby made it all OK.

Except for those bears, which I prayed kept walking upstream.

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Photo: Ryan Jordan, July 2009. Sigma DP2 f/2.8 1/50 sec.