I start to set up my tent, but I stop to take a photo of the sunset. Several times.

Ok. Back to the tent.

The changing sky presents a new sort of stunning. Take some photos. Back to the tent.
What a great campsite?

Huh.

The stakes...won’t...go...in.

Here.

Or here.

Or here.

If I just...oh. They always said carbon fiber stakes would snap under enough pressure. Now I know how much pressure.

Ack.

The sun is starting to disappear. Clearly there were tents here before, how did they...

Wait. Those black marks on the ground. They’re oddly shaped for burnt wood remnants.

They’re...they’re...broken shards of glass. From beer bottles.

Ack.

New rule. No more campsites that you can access with a truck.

Emotion overwhelms me as the cold increases and the moisture in the air is increasing. I hate alcohol. I hate beer.

Ok. Can’t use stakes. Light is disappearing and wind is picking up. I feel a couple of drops.

Two of the stakes actually go in half way. They seem secure.

There seems to be a layer of solid rock about 3 inches below what passes for soil here. The rest of the endpoints will have to be secured using heavy rocks.

You see, my tent requires a taught pitch. It’s extremely lightweight, and is a bit finicky. It needs to be perfectly taught, or it acts more like a poorly performing blanket.
Soil is for the weak

So I wrap the stakes behind rocks. It’s not perfectly taught, but it’s close. This will have to do.

The wind picks up. And the rain starts coming down. No fire tonight. No nightly duties. Just into the tent.

On a good tent pitch, my tent is a 3 season tent. Its not really meant for horizontal rain. But that’s what we get tonight.

I should have made sure I chose a campsite with good cover from both sides. It’s never been an issue before, but it’s now added to the list of checks.

So now we have rain flying in on one side getting my down quilt wet. Oh well. It will be fine for one night. Darkness takes hold, and hours pass, everything is fine, and will remain fine.

Unless one of the stakes come out. Like it just did.

The tent collapses. There is now no protection from the rain. As it picks up, water will come directly into the tent floor. I have no choice but to get out and fix the problem; it doesn’t matter how cold it is.

The rain is coming down hard, and I remember back when I was deciding if I needed rain pants.

Probably not, right?

I mean, the jacket should be enough. I don’t need rain pants in the desert, right?

YES THE ANSWER IS YES YOU NEED RAIN PANTS

In retrospect, of course.

My night clothes are merino wool, so if they get wet, they don’t lose insulation. The rain coming down doesn’t care, though; it’s doing its best to prove that theory wrong.

The rocks aren’t heavy enough. Not for this wind. Fortunately, the fire ring was large, so I continue to pull from there and stack them up.

This will make due for one corner. And another corner. That’s good. It’s fairly taught.

Until a half driven in stake comes out.
More rocks. Stack them.

They fall. Try another configuration.

Mud is everywhere. The rain is bouncing off the ground and coming onto my sleeping clothes, but there’s no other option.

I wonder if my headlamp is waterproof? Probably. I mean, we’ll find out if it’s not, I suppose.

Place the rock, try to balance it. Place other rocks to support it.

Try again. And again.

Eventually I find a place for everything.
Get back in the tent, use my water bottles to wash the mud off my hands and arms.

Ok.

The rain is now running through the ground under the tent. Had I not fixed the pitch when I did, I would be lying in centimeters of running water.

Ordinarily, water underneath the tent floor isn’t a problem, but I keep thinking about those beer bottle shards and whether the denier can hold up to them.

No matter. No reason to worry about a problem that doesn’t exist yet.

One of the rock configurations begins to slide on the slight incline of the rocky ground as the water wears away the ground underneath. It’s not heavy enough. I can see it from inside the tent.
It continues to slide slowly.

I just watch it. I watch it until the other half-secured stake comes out of the ground and the whole tent half collapses again.

Out of the tent.

No more stakes.

I’ve already broken two carbon fiber stakes by this point anyway.

Stack more rocks. Reconfigure.

I’m really happy this campsite has so many rocks.

Wash the mud off with my remaining water. Back in the tent.

Everything seems to be holding.

One half of the quilt is extremely damp.

But only one half. I’ll be fine for one night. I drift off to sleep to the sound of thunder.