My left leg was numb. On the outside, from the hip to kneecap. Walking around camp it just felt odd, one more malady that amongst others went unnoticed. Laying on my side it felt like my muscle had been substituted for a damp towel, through which I could vaguely still notice the leg attached to the rest of me. Halfway through our big end of summer trip, this was worrisome.
The next morning I felt a little less dead, shortened the torso on my Revolution over an inch, and we rerouted to cut our fourth day from 16 miles to 6, and remove the optional sixth, 13 mile, day. We rolled into camp that night after a full day walking, one huge hot climb, and continuous hours of spectacular scenery even more tired. But my leg had full feeling back, and on a landscape scale we were all but within sight of the road. Our biggest backpack-with-kid, a bit over 50 miles through the most scenic heart of Glacier, was almost done, and a success. We three would end it in one piece and with plenty of stress, but with even greater joy.
All of which is to say that the GoPro clips I gathered along the way do not tell the full story. On a non-kid trip it’s hard enough to get out a camera when you’re tired, the weather sucks, or you and your partner are absorbed in doubt about going forward. With Little Bear along that just wasn’t possible, especially when we were weighing serious misgivings about being able to finish our original route on schedule and with adequate physical reserves. So the video lies, by omission. The story it tells is utterly true, but it is not complete.
Glacier has been the central part of my evolution as a backpacker and of my backcountry skills over the past seven years. I had been down every bit of trail we crossed at least twice, often on watershed trips like this one or this one. Little Bear should have many, many more trips to Glacier in the future, but due to his weight and physical desires the days of easily carrying him and making miles will not keep too much longer. I’m glad we did this specific trip when we did.