It's hard to believe four months of MCC have come and gone. It has been a challenging and rewarding season for the Nez Perce crew. All nine of our hitches took place in the backcountry, far from the comforts of civilization. We hiked (at least) a couple hundred miles, often with packs pushing 70 lbs, through the rocky, muddy and often unforgiving terrain of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. We got snowed on, hailed on, almost crushed by falling trees, blasted by mosquitos, sun, rain, you name it. The proverbial ringer.
Even so, I (at least) wouldn't have had it any other way. The moments of pure, unadulterated misery must be present to highlight the moments of pure, unadulterated childish joy. Yin and Yang, it's what life's about I suppose. A season in the wilderness does a remarkable job of highlighting this; out there the highs and lows are much more apparent than they are in everyday life.
In the face of the cold, indifferent forces of nature, and the vast and uncaring universe at large, all you can do is take it in stride. Bask on the sunny beaches of the Selway, meditate on the awe-inspiring mountain vistas, remain stoic and content as you get hammered with freezing rain in July. Extended amounts of time in the wilderness bring us back to earth's timeless ebbs and flow, washing the societal mud off our brains, grounding us in the peaceful, silent awareness that lies in all of us.
The wilderness is therapeutic, it's church, it's everything and nothing all at once. The Nez Perce crew and I are grateful for our season spent in the cold and the heat, the mountains and the meadows, and the serenity and the fury of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.