In my twenties, I did a lot of hiking and camping. Once my kids were born, I decided hiking and camping with children was a dirty chaotic experience, and I packed up my sleeping bag until my babies were old enough to pitch their own tents. In 1993, my first husband, Scott, and I took a road trip to Glacier National Park in Montana. We spent a week in the mountains, and I have great memories from that trip.
One night, I shifted restlessly in our tent. I was hungry, I couldn’t get to sleep, and I really really really wanted a cheeseburger. Sometimes when you are twenty, and it’s a random Thursday night in August, and you’ve been hiking all day, you need a midnight cheeseburger, and nothing else will fill the void. The problem was I am historically terrible at starting campfires, so I wanted Scott to get up and make me the burger.
Now, I know this sounds like a diva-move on my part, but I would like to note here that we had a very successful thirteen-year marriage, and I did lots of nice things for him, including delivering his son who weighed over ten pounds. Personally, enduring two pregnancies and giving birth to a semi-truck entitles me to a cheeseburger retroactively. (So, stop judging me!)
Scott finally agreed to make me the burger. He left the tent, started the fire, dug out a pan, cooked the meat, found a bun, (“Don’t forget ketchup and mustard,” I yelled from my sleeping bag) and he brought me the finished product. It was as delicious as any burger I have ever eaten. Full and satisfied, I hunkered down for bed, but I kept smelling the delicious burger, and I kept thinking about all the bear warnings posted, and I made the connection that if I could smell the delicious meat in the air, surely Smokey the Bear could smell it too.
To make a long story short, I made Scott drive me all the way back to the main area in the park where we could both take a shower and rinse away any left-over cooking smells. While we were gone, we aired out the tent, and decided that if bears had not torn it to shreds in the hour it took us for our round-trip shower expedition, it would probably be safe to fall asleep.
This is a long way around to the main intention of my story, but I was thinking about this Montana trip yesterday while I was on the treadmill watching CNN. Obama nominated Sally Jewell as his new Interior Secretary. I took note of this because I am a Washingtonian and Sally is a Washingtonian, the CEO of REI. To be clear, I don’t know Sally; we have never gone hiking together; I’ve never asked her to cut me a deal on a water-proof tent. Still, I am happy to know a local woman will now be in charge of the national parks across the country and surely will monitor the bear activity in Montana. And, you know, if she wants to hook me up with some discount gear, that would be totally appreciated.