When we were little our parents loved to take my brother and me backpacking, though why exactly remains unclear. We were notorious for forgetting our shoes, dropping important things in water, and quickly consuming huge quantities of dried apricots (to disastrous effects). I have distinct memories of bushwhacking in tears through the twilight,
of the beanie babies we’d stow around the tent, and of my dogs paws, bloody from snowy miles covered. She usually found some poop to eat right before bed, giving her a unique odor which, combined with tent fabric and our four sweaty bodies, eventually came to
form the smell by which I identify family.
I was thinking about them as I stumbled into the Beartooths last week wearing my ice climbing boots. True to form, I’d forgotten my shoes, and was quite thankful to have something in the car more wearable than the legendary red cowboy boots my brother had once sported in a similar situation. They’d dyed his legs bright red from knee to toe for about a week afterwards.
My ice boots didn’t dye my legs, but compared to the little sneakers I’m used to backpacking with, they did make me feel like a drunk robot for about the first four miles. The 22 after that felt fine.