22 Days, 34 ticks, 10 rattlesnakes, 2 bears and zero blisters. I’m currently writing this blog from a small town called Entiat. This summer I am working as a Wilderness backcountry ranger in the Entiat Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. These last three weeks have been nothing short of amazing and are slowly turning into what will be one of the most life changing summers in my life. In three weeks I have gone on a five-day hitch with the Chelan Ranger District Wilderness trail crew to become crosscut saw certified, hiked a beautiful eighteen-mile trail on Lake Chelan called the Lake Shore Trail that takes you all the way to Stehekin, and as of today assisted in the construction of a bridge that passes over Silver Falls. It is nice being able to partake in these projects before the district orientation takes place because afterwards we will be placed on a pretty set schedule for hitches out in the backcountry. It allows Liam (my partner from the Mt. Adams Institute) and I to really get to know and connect with the people throughout our district.
I can’t express enough how I’ve fallen in love with this town and the people who call it home. The locals right away want to know who you are and what you are doing for the season. Most of them off the bat typically guess the Forest Service; I’m assuming that’s because of the white work shirt that I’m usually wearing that is hardly white anymore. On days off, Liam and I have visited the surrounding cities Wenatchee, Leavenworth, and Chelan. We have enjoyed each visit, but I would say you would most likely find us in Leavenworth bouldering on our days off. Being so close to some of the best bouldering that exists is hard to pass up on a nice couple of days off. I am looking forward to all of the adventures I will experience working here this season. Whether I’m in my tent in the backcountry, sitting on the stoop of the house I live in (which was an old ranger house built in 1930 by the Civilian Conservation Corps), or visiting a new town I have never been to, I can’t help but have the biggest grin on my face as I know this is only the beginning.