So. It’s not temperature that determines whether I sleep cold.

Ok, temperature is certainly a factor, but I’ve slept at 25 degrees and been toasty warm.

Last night was 26, and I was definitely not toasty.

The condensation, however, was heavily increased. It seems that humidity, when high, creates more condensation, of course - when that condensation freezes on the sleeping quilt, it renders a portion of the down useless.

Then it’s cold.

All.

Night.

I have no solution currently.

-

I tried to start early.

I promise.

It began with a rough climb. Worse than the Grand Canyon, though much shorter.
300 feet in elevation, and I was atop a plateau.

An open field revealed an expanse of yellow grass covered in glistening layer of white fractal patterns; the condensation had frozen here as well.

The landscape changed again a weaving forest with upright, smaller pines.

Then came the decline - abrupt and unruly, through partially burnt forest.

I’ve learned not to trust high grade declines - it usually means there’s a high grade incline coming.

A river bed meets me at the bottom with a flowing stream. This is the first stream I’ve seen.

I look around for the trail marker with an impending sense of doom.

Yes. There it is.

Back up from the river bed.

My shoulders slump.

Harrumph.

Let’s get to it.

This is worse than before. Most of the time I don’t use my trekking poles. These awful inclines are the exception.

I’m 300 feet back up, and this is the nicest forest I’ve seen. Late morning sun, the ground covered in soft fallen pine, an open forest with massive trees about 10 feet apart.

You can see underneath the pine that this area was recently burned - the burnt black needles add a nice color contrast.

I’m still worn out from last night’s cold. All the hiking I’ve done this morning has been a methodical chore, so I stop to take a break.

Lying down in the pine, with the sun on my face, a take a siesta with the hat blocking the sun. And certainly, it’s time for a chocolate peanut butter treat.

I’ll wake up when I wake up.
Twenty minutes later, I’m off and reminded what a pleasant experience this can be.

The trail begins to follow a dirt road at a decent incline, and then turns off to a rocky decline. Switchbacks bring me to a river bed of flowing water, partially frozen on top.

I sit for a while at the babbling brook.

I sat for longer as I ate some chocolate and mentally reframed my state of mind to not be so focused on covering a lot of distance, or focused on how cold it was going to be that evening.

Just sit, and listen to the babbling brook.

Babble babble.

Eventually, I run into the Verde river, which is fenced off in a tight square pattern of wire. Usually, fences are for large animals, but this fence might even keep jack rabbits from crossing.

Then I see it. A massive downhill climb. The sharp decline is quite precarious, and I look around for a reasonable trail.

I don’t see it.

I guess this is just a difficult terrain?

So I start down the scramble.

I slip several times, and fall directly on my pack.

It gets worse.

This can’t be right.

If anyone isn’t perfectly physically fit, this could kill them, and it doesn’t seem like trail maintainers would use this as official trail.

I’m concerned for my ankles, so I move slowly.

The GPS says I’m a little off the trail, so I try to cut across, and then overshoot the line on the map.

The GPS isn’t cutting it, so I continue down, and eventually make it without tumbling down the hill.

There’s a sign...going the opposite way, the trail is off to the left. Way off to the left. Looking back up, I see the trail; it’s quite obvious, and it was nowhere near where I came down.

I came down the most dangerous part.

It’s clearly *not* a trail.

Whatever.

Now I’m following the Verde river, and there’s a rushing flow with green grass all around. This is new.

I could camp right now, but there’s two hours of daylight left.

The map says a rise in elevation ia coming. Let’s get to it.

The terrain is now desert, very similar to the Grand Canyon North Rim.

There are no areas for campsites anywhere.

The sun is quickly disappearing, so I move faster, as fast as I can go safely.
Sunset is now 5 minutes away, and there is no sign of any flat ground.

It’s too late to go back.

I’ll just keep going. And hope a solution presents itself.