At 6:30, I’m walking. Earliest yet.

Not much water today. Just ups and downs.

The trail isn’t well marked, and I lose it several times. Like the other day, there’s little difference between the trail and the surrounding landscape, so I cut across 200 feet.

Eventually I come to a peak, and it’s a great view. The experience of the past several days has left me with very little motivation to make good time, so I stop to look at the mountains.

I stay at the peak for hours. I don’t know exactly how much time has passed, but it doesn’t matter.

Quite a while later, I refocus. Time to move on.

Staying mostly along the ridge, it’s been a while since I had a drink. Fortunately, a tank is coming up.
Closer to SLC than expected

And there it is. Turn left for a sharp uphillclimb. Quite a dangerous climb, in fact.

No problem.

The tank is filled with algae, but it’s clear. It’s no flowing river, but it will do.

Just a mile beyond is a great little campsite. Picturesque, even.

It’s extremely windy, but this campsite creates a small sheltered area with trees, and even a saddle to sit on.

A little too small for my tent, but I make it work, and I start a fire. The ring is too close to my tent, so I build the ring up 1 and 1/2 feet higher with surrounding rocks.

I keep the fire burning for hours in my constructed fire castle as I stare into it, thinking about nothing in particular. For a moment, I wonder if Cedrick is watching. I’m unconcerned.

These days, I sleep mostly through the night, but it seems my sleeping pad has a puncture in it, so I wake up whenever my body starts to touch the ground, because the cold permeates quickly.

Blow it back up. Back to sleep. Every 45 minutes or so. Last night it was every 2 hours.

Once, after refilling the pad and awaiting sleep, I hear a low growl outside the tent. It’s subtle, but unmistakable.

Some wild animal trying to figure out whether I’m a danger as it passes by. In times past, I would have been concerned, and yelled out to scare it away.

Not today.

I don’t even make noise.

My only thought: Shut up.

As I drift back off to sleep.