Over the 3 months I have been out here I have learned a lot, not only about the environment and how the forest service works, but about myself and what is important to me. This list covers everything from things I have come to understand about myself and about some simple and not so simple things about the world that I hadn’t encountered/thought about before my time here. (This is a very long list. Sorry, but 3 months is a long time and a lot of things come up!)
· Peanut butter tastes good with just about everything from milkshakes to pasta
· Everything tastes better after being in the wilderness for a few days.
· I will eat lentils and falafel (not only will I eat them, but have actually come to like them!)
· After a few days in the woods, you stink, everyone stinks, and its not a big deal
· Shitting in the woods isn’t great, but you get used to it.
· A shower after 8 days out is one of the most amazing things ever.
· Radiohead is actually pretty good
· It is possible to go without getting on the internet everyday (this was kind of hard at first since the internet is my main form of communication with many people)
· The average national park user is a slob. I cant believe the amount of litter people just leave in the woods.
· Not to rely on restaurants to cook the majority of my food. I have been cooking almost all of my own meals this entire summer.
· People being late for work consistently and making me late makes me very irritated.(ok, I already knew this, but the actions of several of my crew members just re-affirmed it for me)
· Patience is still something I need to work on
· What homesick really is
· After a few weeks, you kind of forget about TV (not that I’m not looking forward to watching some stuff when I get home)
· How much I truly miss Laurie when she’s not around. Long distance relationships are not easy, but it sure makes you realize just how important the other person is to you.
· Age definitely does not dictate maturity (another one I pretty much already knew, but new examples are always popping up to really hammer this one into my head)
· Seattle is probably the coolest city ever.
· Doing your own thing and not just following what everyone else around you is doing makes some people very uneasy and confused. I don’t need to be doing what you’re doing to have fun. Im fine, worry about yourself.
· I really don’t like being bossed around. This is different from a supervisor letting you know what you need to do. That im ok with. What im not ok with is people on equal footing with me ordering me around while standing there with their thumb up their butt.
· Being talked down to makes me want to punch said person in the face.
· How to successfully work in a group, even with all the personal and character differences between group members (most of which I have highlighted above).
· I can’t grow a beard very well.
· Just how often I repeat myself
· There are things that are nice to have with you when backpacking, but you figure out pretty quick what you need instead of things you just want when you have to carry it all on your back. Small things add up to extra weight very quickly.
· I need to continue to work on getting in better shape. This summer is hopefully just the start.
· Mosquitoes in very large numbers can drive a person to just about the breaking point
· Working for the forest service is actually pretty cool, but it is the government so there is of course plenty of bureaucratic bullshit to deal with along the way.
· The average person wants to help with environmental issues; they just don’t know how to go about doing it. This just shows how important environmental education really is and that it is something that needs to be stepped up. (well, I think so at least)
This was a very long list, sorry. These are just the things that come to mind when I think about my experiences over this summer. I have really learned a lot about what it takes to get out there and make a difference in the environment, and it’s really not easy work. Also, it may piss some people off along the way. We had people get mad at us for pulling noxious weeds because they thought they were pretty. I’m sorry, but these plants are taking over the forests and pushing out all of the native plants that are very important to the ecosystem here. You can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty to get involved in an issue or field you feel passionate about.
What am I going to do with the knowledge and experience I have gained over this summer? I still have no idea, but I think im one step closer to figuring that out. Im thinking something to do with trees…..
Lee being Lee.
Yeah, thats right. real men backpack in a kilt!