finding ourselves in the Pioneers
This is the account of a winter adventure to Pioneer Cabin from my youth. The trip was ill-conceived and planned, but a great lesson for four young men who set out for Pioneer Cabin from a parking lot near the Sun Valley Lodge on January 4, 1980. I wrote this shortly after our return in 1980.
But I was awake. I had heard it. I looked at Cary as a grin spread across his face, a small tape recorder in his hands playing Rhymes and Reasons. Steve groaned, then chuckled, causing snowflakes to topple from his hair. Tom barely stirred as he tried to sleep, huddled next to the meager fire on his snowshoes. I noted that the fire was disappearing into the snowpack, melting its way towards the frozen earth.
Darkness brought dinner and candlelight, a crackling fire and the moon. It was almost a travesty. For all I knew I was a permanent prisoner of the Pioneer Range, yet I was as happy as I had ever been in my life. I got up and went to the door, a cup steaming in my hand. The picture outside was dreamlike. The moon was casting a shadow of Hyndman and Duncan at my very feet, even through the sparse clouds and spindrift. A spirit was here. The earth had never been so alive as at this moment. The moon rose over the mountains, the curtain of clouds was drawn apart and I was blinded by the silver moon as it greeted the Pioneers and vowed that the storm was finally over. I turned and sipped at the cocoa, but is was cold...
The shivering woke me up, then Tom, cursing. Cary and Steve were coughing. The stove had burned through the night, but now at 5:00 AM, the fire was out and it was frigid in the cabin. And smoky. Tom had the burner plates off and was attempting to build the fire, but the wood was stubbornly damp and his only reward was the smoke that was rapidly filling the cabin. Finally, with the windows open and then the door, the smoke began to clear. I got up as Tom stoked the fire. I closed the door and windows and drew myself up close to the stove as it gradually warmed. I wrote in my journal as the rest dozed off for a brief interlude before the dawn: