It’s 4. Time to start setting up camp.

Probably not the best spot. Cedrick has already been here
And now we start the process of trying to find a campsite that’s just a little bit better.

That spot is good. But what about around the corner?

Ok. You have 5 minutes to find something better, or you have to come back and use this site.

Ok. 8 minutes.

I look up, and there’s some elk grazing. One is staring at me with that derpy, “what is your purpose here and should I be concerned?” look.

I stare at him.

He stares at me.

We stare at each other.

I do this for an extended period of time for no other reason than my own entertainment. Sure, daylight is disappearing, but this is a great moment.

What is his elk brain thinking? Does he even know?

Maybe he’s judging me.

DON’T JUDGE ME ELK.

I eventually win the staring contest. He and his posse slowly meander on.

I’m pretty happy with my campsite, until I realize that all those pellets aren’t seeds; they’re dried scat.

Everywhere.

So be it.

I finish cooking and personal hygiene procedures before the sunlight is gone. It’s past sunset, but for the first day back, this isn’t so bad.

I’m still terrified of the wild while alone at night.

I stay outside of my tent for a while, letting the fear settle in, but choosing not to respond. I choose not to examine it, but rather to experience the fullness of it.

Looking at the stars, I calm down. Everything is fine. You’re fine.

Standing there in silence, I accept the process for today.

I understand that everything is fine, but know that were I to see shining eyes staring back at me, my feelings would change.

It’s ok.

This is good progress for today.