“Choose your own adventure” is how I would describe the wilderness. Shear scree fields, deafening thunderstorms, and collapsing trees in burn areas are some of the obstacles that will be faced.
Whether or not you want to attempt to slide 20 feet down the field, sleep through the storm, or walk through the burn is up to you. However these are realities that wilderness rangers must trudge through regardless of “want” and is just another part of the job.
Spending the summer as a wilderness ranger has done more than give me swole calves and calluses, but it has given me another type of courage that not all hold. It’s encouraged me to take more risks, trust the dark, and explore the off beaten path. Not everything that goes bump in the night wants to harm you. Backpacking throughout the Pasayten and Sawtooth wilderness areas has been incredibly challenging. It has forced me to be brave when I wanted to turn back, and the lessons that nature has to show kept me moving forward. My experience with Mt. Adams Institute, AmeriCorps, and the Forest Service has been an extremely positive one, and as the winter chill creeps in I am sad to leave. However, I know that it isn’t truly leaving me. I will always carry the courage of a wilderness ranger wherever I explore and trudge in life.