Late in 2016, as I was packing my gear room, I can across a pile of backcountry permits stuffed toward the back of a low shelf. It was the sort of place which only gets organized during a big move, and is easy to put off. So I assembled them all and stuffed them in a folder, and put that folder in a box. As we moved, and boxed and unboxed, more permits were discovered and added to the folder. This winter I opened that up, counted and examined the permits and put them in chronological and per-park order. And now, in the house where we intend to die, and shortly introduce our second kid, it seemed time to do something with them.
So I trimmed them and glued them to a foam board. And hung it on the wall by our back door, the one you cannot but look at every time you come back inside.
Now that all the extent permits are in one spot, I can’t look at them without thinking about all the ones apparently went into the garbage. Brendan and mine’s Grand Canyon trip from 2014. Our Virgin River permit from 2006, and our Glacier permit from August of 2016. The central Tonto trail from the summer of 2007. Many, many Zion canyoneering permits, and many Glacier permits, all unaccounted for. Extrapolating from those present and missing, and including research cabin trips in winter, I’ve done between 60 and 70 overnights in the Glacier backcountry in the past decade.
There are lots of good memories, starting all the way back in 2007 with this memorable trip down the New Hance and along to the South Kaibab. This family hiking and packrafting trip along the North Fork of the Flathead. M and I’s two backpacks in Craters of the Moon, and both our hiking and river permits from our canyon trip with Little Bear when he was 9 months old.
It’s proven to be the perfect momento; an equal reminder of what we have done, and what we haven’t.