|Yumi overlooking Island Lake, Wind River Range, WY|
Some of my earliest memories growing up were those spent camping with my family. We'd usually spend 3 weeks up in Wisconsin's Northern Highland State Forest, fishing, canoeing and hiking the old logging roads. Some of the best times in my life were the overnight canoe trips my brother and I used to do beginning when we were barely 13 and 11.
Once I began high school and athletics became more of a year-round activity the summer trips up north were fewer and fewer. Before I knew it, I was off to college.
There were a few wilderness experiences in those 4 years, most will remain unsaid, though there were a few canoe trips up to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota.
The obsession was renewed in 2003 when Yumi and I decided to take the kids and my mother out to Yellowstone, Tetons and the Black Hills. We were in Yellowstone hiking to Mystic Falls when I noted a beautiful meadow along the Firehole meadow and casually told Yumi "this would be a great spot to camp". Suddenly, I was thinkingof getting into the backcountry for the first time since about 1983. A lot.
When we got back home I asked Yumi if she'd like to make another trip out west the next summer---just the two of us this time. She said "yes" and it was on for Glacier National Park for the summer of 2004.
Since then I've made 10 more trips out west, spending some quality time with new friends in the mountains.