The good news is, I have a lot less stuff this year. Part of that stems from knowing what/how much I do and do not need, now. And part of it stems from the knowledge that I can always get myself more of something if I run out. I am, however, packing more gin and candy than last year. Aside from steak, ice cream, and fresh fruit (which I couldn't really have anyway), those two things were what I most wished I had had more of.
Here's a quick tour through my crap, just prior to its being stuffed into motor oil and wine boxes, the preferred box size of muleskinners everywhere.
Green rectangle on the left is my lookout journal, worth
thousands millions of dollars some day when I'm famous/dead?
Condiments and wee sprout jar.
Starch, dry veg, dry fruit, nuts.
Canned goods, the edge of the bakery.
Rest of bakery, dessert/candy pile, tea/coffee/lemonade.
Reading List: 2011. The Good Life, The Dirty Life: back-to-the-land, decades apart. William O. Douglas: namesake of the wilderness in the northern end of Gifford Pinchot NF (my foresthomeland), aka, the WOD. The Lochsa (Lock-saw) Story: homesick-making for Idaho. The Ridgerunner: same. Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test: a re-re-re-read in advance of the release of the Magic Trip. Crosswords: can't effing believe I didn't bring any last year. Rest: blend of shoot-me-the-world-is-effed and ahh-reading-with-the-moral-weight-of-a-mud-fence.
Something I left out of my announcement post is that being hired to this lookout was a twisty path. The very day I got out of the woods in the North Cascades from my trip with the WTA, I had a voicemail from my brother, telling me that Cle Elum was hiring for Thorp LO. I called and talked to the district; I was the only person who did, things were looking good as my application was going through. When all was done, two US servicemen veterans were ahead of me on the list, by default. I received a very kind call to let me know that while they liked my application, I wouldn't be getting the job. I was heartbroken, but okay, too--I had already made my peace with not being in the mountains, and was excited to be home all summer. Then, several weeks later, I got another call. Would I still be interested? Well, shit, yes! And with just one more 180-degree turn of life within a couple of months, I began the application process again.
I have my brother to thank, again, for getting me into the line for this lookout. Thanks, yo. And as he said the other day, "The Delph fire dynasty continues." To which I replied, "That Wenatchee [National Forest] had better get its jockstrap and sports bra on, 'cause shit's about to get rad!" I am excited to be back on a Forest with my brother, even if we aren't on the same district.
Other things, in addition to shopping, packing, etc, that I have been doing: picking fruit (raspberries, red huckleberries, salal berries, blueberries), making freezer jam with same. Seeing friends, playing cornhole, kubb, etc, with same. Eating tons of great garden goodies, including fantastic young potatoes. It's really the best of both worlds, this summer: Summer at home, and lookout stretch (assuming nothing else sets me back). Life is good.