In the summer of 1978 at just 16 years of age, I spent 9 days and 68 miles backpacking and camping through the High Sierra Mountains. There I had many of my greatest experiences.
It was there that I had the opportunity to feed a REAL BADGER (they do have nasty attitudes). Ate Rainbow Trout and Frogs legs. Both caught, cleaned and cooked by my own hand. Steamed in foil with butter and pepper. One of the most satisfying and memorable meals I have ever had.
I was blessed and surprised with the experience of meeting a passing group of three female hikers that believed whole heartedly in fully experiencing the great outdoors by backpacking topless. Had the unique experience of an August swim in a chilly mountain lake (no, not with the ladies) that still had patches of snow on it's banks feeding the water.
One late evening sitting around a long dead campfire quietly talking with friends, a young doe wandered through our camp, passing right between us. As we hushed our quiet talk and all conversation stopped, our attention pulled to this wild creature. She had such little experience and no fear of us, it was amazing. She paused looked around then gently continued strolling through our campsite and disappeared into the woods beyond. Every one us us had chills and were struck by the thought that we were just visitors in her home. This is a moment that none of us will ever forget.
During this trip I had my single greatest experience. I was resting alone in the middle of a wild flower filled high alpine meadow about mid day. Over 40 miles and at least 3 days hike from anything you could call civilization. The buzzing and clicks of insects all around. A slight breeze and with a perfect temperature that was neither too hot, nor too cool. The light filtered through the tall pines and accompanied by several very fat bumble bees. One pausing breifly on my arm out of curiosity and with no harm intended at all. It was at that time that I felt with every fibre of my being that life as we know it could not be some cosmic accident. That we are all, but a tiny part of something greater and more complete that ourselves.
Though I have camped and backpacked many times before and since, this was the greatest adventure of my life. Made even greater by the fact that it is true and could not have been dreamed of if I had tried. These memories alone have provided me with riches that can never be taken!
Workin' on my 366 day (Leap Year) set of Straight Razors! (It's bloodletting with style!)