Steelies, Sweat, and Scars

I know the raspy twang and sarcastic drawl of his voice. I have known him since I was a shy eight-year-old girl thrust into a world of hunting camps, mules, guides, and wilderness. In reality though, I do not know him. I know nothing of the past behind the man. He is careful what he lets people see. I suppose that is fine, because in some ways the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area is like the old west, where a man’s past does not matter just what he does today. The judgment that the mountains pass is all that matters to the people who walk the rugged rock trails and sagebrush fields.
Before the summer of ’09, I had been around him but I had never worked solely with him. At the end of that summer, I had expanded my vocabulary, bled over posts and barbwire, and cussed the boss together and with equal feeling. Together, a 21 year old college student and a tough and often cranky hunting guide, fixed elk ravaged fences, spliced barbwire, pounded steelies, slapped mosquitoes with equal enthusiasm, and managed not to kill each other.

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