Spring Camp 2009



By Glenn Goldthwait, pilgrim


Friday June 5th, it was a beautiful day when Paul and I set up his tipi on a remote site in the Tobacco Root Mountains. The Madison and Gravely Mountain ranges were in the distance and were illuminated with sunlight reflected from their snow capped peaks. The aroma of sage was in the air to add to one of those idyllic days in the mountains that one never forgets. Sign of moose, bear, elk and deer abounded and later on when Walt was in camp an antelope came over the ridge to see what was going on.

The weather forecast was grim but hard to believe on such a beautiful day. On the way down from the mountains I was surprised to see Walt coming up the road since I thought no one would show up until Saturday. Walt spent a peaceful night alone in the lodge. The sound of torrential rain and hail beating down on canvas can have a soothing effect on one's soul.

The next morning I hiked into camp through the hail and snow and tossed my buffalo robe and blanket bundle into the lodge. I said good morning to Walt who replied "Good afternoon!" Apparently Walt was having such a good time of it that time had actually seemed to pass by quickly. Jim, our guest came in right behind me with the attitude, "I'm just happy to be here. "We shall see...

It was a beautiful warm and sunny day some where, but not for us here. More rain, hail, sleet and snow was in store.

The others in the tipi began to look at me with great suspicion. Who is this pilgrim, and how has he offended God? And do we want to be in the same tipi with him? I'm sure they were thankful that there was no lightning for certainly with me in the tipi we would all have been struck!

Later that day we heard a melodic voice that echoed off the nearby hills. "Where are the white women and whiskey?", and we knew that John had arrived with horse and wolf-dog along. I told him I could help him with the whiskey but he was on his own to find a woman. There's just so much a booshway can provide legally.

Then Paul came over the ridge with his positive attitude and bright smile and the clouds broke and the sun came out!

Now here's a soul who has not offended God as much as this pilgrim. Paul shared with us how to test bear scat for freshness by eating some of it! Actually it was some concoction of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit...I think. He shared it with the rest of us but I did not partake, just in case Paul had made a fast handed switch to the real thing.

That night we kept the fire stoked up and ate delicious venison supplied by Gene. John and I imbibed in a little whiskey and the conversation seemed to ramble in all sorts of directions. I'm sure it was as interesting for Walt and Jim as it was for us. Later, john retreated to his camp which consisted of a tarp, blankets, horse and wolf-dog. Inexplicably, the dog left him in the middle of the night to sleep against the tipi.

Sunday morning was cold and snowy. Walt said I had been snoring, but of course I don't snore. Walt must have been mistaken, it must have been John's dog.

We took our time cooking breakfast, talking, and packing. No one really wanted to leave the tipi. The weather had not let up, but, at some point you just have to face the fact that the fun is over.

To the ones that couldn't make it, we wish you had been there.



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