This is about feeling thankful. The day before I met this NOLS crew, I decided to not go into Escalante, Utah for resupply. I *sorta* had enough food to get to my next cache, and I was going to make a run for it and “see what happened.” This basically means I was going to be rationing my food and starving myself. What can I say? I was really feeling the outdoors.
My first thought when I saw ten folks gathered around backpacks was actually more just confusion. Why would anyone in their right mind be out backpacking Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in late October?! They looked friendly so I asked, “Is anyone here medical?” They all raised their hand. Now, see, I’m a former RN, but I couldn’t see the wound troubling me on my spine. It wasn’t healing because my backpack rubbed it all day. As recent EMT grads they were stoked to clean and dress it for me. The bandage felt so good. And it felt nice to be the bandaged and not the bandager for once. I felt the love.
Of course I noticed their huge packs, and learned they had just then received resupply (NOLS calls it “ration”), so I asked if anyone had ration they didn’t want to carry. Soon I had three pounds of cheese, some fun size candy, 10 huge tortillas, two packs of tuna, and a fresh burrito. Definitely enough food to get me to my next cache, and as things would have it, the medicine I needed.
A few days later I got very sick with stomach problems (my hunch is still ulcer) and the cheese was the best thing I had for it. I pretty much ate cheese for five days thanks to these guys. They had already been out 15 days or so hiking and canyoneering but were in such good spirits, unfazed, full of laughter. My backcountry heroes. I’m more thankful for them than they know yet.
I don’t have their names but I have their address. I can’t wait to tell them in a postcard about their first real rescue.