Hike to Camp 17A

By: Gillian Rooker

All I can say about Camp 17A was that it was quite the treat. Just imagine sitting and looking out at a beautiful scenery of snow-capped mountains and a river streaming down from a nearby glacier. You want to sit and admire the view longer, but after a couple minutes, once you’re done you grab some toilet paper, wipe, stand, pull up your pants and step out of the door-less outhouse into the fresh crisp air… minding the gaping hole in the floor as you go.  That is what Camp 17A was, the perfect mixture of beauty beyond comparison and rundown quaintness.

The beautiful view from Camp 17A. (Photo by: Stan Pinchak)

The camp was comprised of one building (a shack) and an outhouse (door-less). Even so, I loved it! My travel group took 12 ½ hours to get to 17A, hiking through forests of Devil’s Club (a plant similar looking to tons of other plants, except with thousands of tiny thorns), across ice-cold rivers, up the vertical swamp (with mud that went up to one’s knees), finally reaching an altitude of 4500 ft. After all of that, I would have been happy sleeping in a damp cardboard box. Even if I had not done that hike though, I still would have enjoyed staying at camp 17A. Honestly! It made me want to move out to the middle of nowhere and build a tiny shack of my own… probably a little nicer though, and with less rat poop.

A welcome sight: Camp 17A! (Photo by: Stan Pinchak)

It wasn’t just the camp itself that I liked, though, but the bonding that took place with my hiking group and I. After all the suffering we shared on the hike, being able to sit down in a semi-warm room with everyone and have a good old time with them while eating a bowl of mac-n-cheese was priceless. Friendships and memories were forged on that hike and in Camp 17A that I will not forget anytime soon… maybe when I get old and start to lose my memories though… but that won’t be for a while, so I’m still good for now.

The unforgettable trek to Camp 17A. (Photo by Stan Pinchak)