Spring Hostility in Montana (Photo: Sigma DP2)

 

Spring Hostility in Montana, Sigma DP2 (click for larger)

Last weekend we took the Scout troop on their first backpacking trip of the season into the foothills of the Tobacco Root Mountains. We cooked over fires, slept under tarps, and learned the art of navigating in coulee country.

It was cold, too. Twenty one degrees on the first night. On our second day, we hiked and camped in outrageous winds that toppled shelters, chapped faces, and put ultralight stoves to shame. This was a trip where some troops might take mountaineering tents, balaclavas, and XG-K’s.

Instead, we chose light packs: our boys had pack weights that averaged less than 20 pounds (including food and at least 3 liters of water in this dry country). That’s minus one anomaly: our SPL carried 43, because we saddled him with 8 liters of extra water.