that leaves you stoned and stirring.
Waking up on top of a river, I feel that omen. Damn I have to piss. Zzzzip, tent door opens, my face feels the cold air and my eyes squint in the brightness. Starlight, a relic, that dreamy notion, is alive and well tonight. A traffic jam of diamonds crunch underfoot and jostle overhead. Back in the tent I can hear the stream burble three feet beneath my pillow.
Cold, wet, hard. Three things that could easily describe winter camping. But not this weekend. Sunny skies, fresh-air that hung on every breath and dried my clothes overnight. How about breakfast in bed? So why did we get so lucky this weekend? It was the first time for all four of us - winter camping and being to this place. We had heard the stories. The claims about this canyon. Fuzzy photos and poor maps. Not far from town yet a trek to get here; logging roads, skis, sleds, snow up to our hips. Nothing really prepared us for the scale and depth of this place. We swore and laughed at the snow bridges, cliffs, and 200 hundred year old spruce.
Everything lined up so perfectly. Two days of river walking headlamp hiking. Do you suppose that some of those stars lined up for us? We left the wilderness this evening, humbled and thinking. One question that rose above the coffee-fueled high on the drive home is "What did we do to deserve this?" Maybe we started by being stoked like a fire. And just believing there's always more to explore when you play outside.
Stoke your fire. Go explore with friends. Remember that photographs and descriptions only show about 1%. You've got to discover the rest.
p.s. This is all you get. The two white dots in lower center of the photo are headlamps as we hike back to camp through the slot canyon.