Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)
TITLE: "Sprirt's Trail"
By Richard Adams
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It all started when Jamie read the report of Spirit; a five year old Timber Wolf that was tracked by her collar transmitter in the Teton Wilderness Area of Wyoming. Spirit had been “collard” in the Yukon Territory of Alaska three years before and had somehow migrated some three thousand miles south along the Canadian and American Rocky Mountains. Jamie pondered why and how a lone wolf would wonder so far from her normal living range. The whole incident began a year long investigation that inspired a small team of three intensely interested and dedicated “tree huggers” to take on a never-before attempted wilderness journey from the Wind River Range of southwestern Wyoming to the boarder of the Yukon Territory in Alaska. They were to walk, that’s right walk, an untested and uncharted trail of approximately thirty-five hundred miles along the Continental Divide to find out the “why and how” of Spirit’s trek.
They had worked constantly, with anyone that would help, planning every aspect of the adventure. There was so much to think about; so many possibilities and projections to consider, and the variables of nature alone were overwhelming.
In the beginning they were home based in Lander, Wyoming; a small town at the foot of the Wind River Range where the Popo Agie, (popo’sia), River dumps into the “warm valley” near the Shoshone Indian Reservation. Their last night in town was spent on final preparations and sharing the excitement of it all with good friends and family. On an early summer evening when the sweet fragrance of blooming wild olive trees filled the crisp night air along the Front Range a toast was made by a good friend and dedicated supporter. “This is to Skip and Jamie; may you see through God’s eyes, hear His voice in every breeze, and remember the sparrow who receives nourishment without toil. Conserve your strength, your water and your matches; but freely give from your inspiration, your exuberance and your passion. I love you both and support you with everything I have within me so I’ll go with you in spirit, like hundreds of others! I envy you for what you will experience out there, God speed!” After hours of hugs and supportive hand shakings they got a few hours rest, but sleep was out of the picture.
At the trail head into the Bridger Wilderness Area off HWY 287, Skip and Jamie strapped on their heavily burdened backpacks to begin the first day on their quest of Spirit’s Trail. The news media are there for photos and interviews. So is Skip’s constant companion, Plummer; a four year old Scottish Highland Collie who’s intelligent and dedicated to Skip and now Jamie too, and steadily circling in excited anticipation of going for a long walk. It’s a small group, diverse in their individual abilities and unimpressive to the casual observer; they resemble a young couple going on a four day backpacking trip with their dog. But there is so much excitement surrounding them, adrenaline surging thru their brain and blood flooding their sinew that they launch away from the trail marker like they were shot from cannon and disappear into thick Spruce forests on a well worn rocky trail.
The first day they ascend Adams Pass and marvel at the multitude of crystal clear alpine lakes visible from its summit. They forged a roaring river by the old broken down bridge and rested by Graves Lake as they enjoyed their protein bar. That night they camped under a sparkling canopy of brilliant stars and startling silence at Baptiste Lake, named for a Shoshone Chief from long ago, and the first day came and went.
It took nearly 2 years to complete their adventure as they divided it into manageable assaults. Starting in June of 1998 the final leg ended at the Northern Yukon boarder in the fall of 1999. The experiences they had on their journey are indelibly recorded on their minds and in their hearts as they continue to inspire others. Their completed journals are recorded and photos are cataloged to provide proof of, that which some think impossible is only a challenge to those with purpose driven lives and an insuppressible spirit.
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