At Mike's request, we've recently taken up more time outside on Sundays. With most of his week spent traveling, then coming home to unload and repack supplies for the next week, we don't get as much time all together as we might like. Last week, we visited Backbone Rock, where Mike and I got engaged. This week--Beartree Recreations Area. We both worked here in the Ranger Brandy days. My dad visited this spot in the late sixties with his dad on dirt bikes. My parents spent part of their honeymoon here. I celebrated at least one childhood birthday camping here, as well. It is a family place.
I suppose this is where I go off course and talk about public lands and how they are cared for. It is easy to see where our leaders place their values when you visit National Forests. Structures are long-empty, there is little staff on hand to help (or only intrepid volunteers), and there's an over-all mood of the place having passed its hey day. Our areas used to have two big offices that looked after the USFS land here (and we have a lot for this part of the country!), and now they've been condensed to one with no new hires in the foreseeable future. It was sad to give up my dream of being a full-time Ranger Brandy, but the reality quickly revealed itself. I couldn't spend years wandering the country as a seasonal employee, waiting for something to open up. I wanted, and had, roots.
So, we are now fans of our public lands, instead of aspiring to take our livelihoods from them. The places are full of memories, of course, and still there, in their silence, waiting for new memories to be made. We walked up an old road yesterday that I have traveled numerous times, back when I had one of those magical Master Keys that Unlocks All the Things. On foot at the end of Winter, it was a different place than by car in high Summer. We found frog eggs and ice, wee green leaves and lots of birch bark. The children really had a good time with that old road. I have plans to come back in the Summer and spend the whole day there--there's a lake, several camping loops, a picnic shelter (where we had our wedding reception), and some beaver flats. I'm looking forward to it.