April 21, 1987: Orientation

Tomorrow we hit the trail. Finally. I’ve been looking forward to this day since I heard about the Backcountry at the Academy. I’ve come a long way since the Academy, and I’ve still got a long way to go.

Heck, I’ve come a long way in the last nine months. This time last year I was living on the Lindstaedt’s ranch in Illinois, working in the machine shop. I was still a talker and not much of a doer. The first big step I’ve ever really taken on my own was to head out to California, and it’s turning out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I came out here with the vague idea of working in the wilderness. Less than a month after I got here I was in the Corps planning on Backcountry.

And if my mind wasn’t settled on it then, I got sent to Del Norte Center and put on the crew with more Backcountry vets than all the others combined. Kristen, Brian, Anne, Mira, Kathy Wood, Eric, and Bob Brandreth all added to my desire to come back here. Backcountry was a typical everyday topic of discussion. It’s no wonder that more people are here from Crew 3 than any other at Del Norte.

Being here at Delta has made me really appreciate being at Del Norte a whole lot more. It’s almost like being in the Army here—or a minimum security prison.

I’m really looking forward to spending the summer with this crew. It really looks good. I’ve really been blessed with good crews in the Corps—and good crewleaders and C-1s. One of my crewleaders here, Glen, resembles my set-up man from the machine shop. I wouldn’t have been surprised if his last name had been Valenziano. Bob was a really good guy, and it looks like Glen is, too.

Almost a third of my crew is from Del Norte, myself, Anne, Gary, Robert, and Diane. Anne was wondering if that would intimidate any of the other crewmembers, but it doesn’t seem to be.

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