Here's how you know who your real friends are. Bail on everything for six months a year. Weddings, birthdays, holiday barbecues. Make plans because you think you have a day off, and then cancel at the last minute because you're on your way to Alaska. Tell them you'll be back in three weeks. If you do have a few hours, meet them at the Nite Owl or the Dam Town. Show up in smoky nomex and fire boots, and leave early, because you have to be at work by six the next morning. Don't answer emails or texts for a long time because you don't have cell service on your fire in Wyoming. At the end of fire season, come back. Start contacting people: you're available now! What are they doing? If they welcome you back, and are happy to see you, and it's like no time at all has gone by, do what you can to keep them.
|Friends on the trail|
|We stopped to look at this icy stream|
|Almost frozen lake at about 15 F|
|Top of the ski area|