Once I get up, I have to face the reality of wrapping up wet gear.
I can already feel the mist in the air, mist from a day that’s likely never going to show the sun.
Let’s get to it.
The mist is more dense than I thought. The fog prevents me from seeing past where the truck treads are.
I used to own one. Maybe I will again one day. But I will never drink beer. Ever.
I know from previous weighing that the collected water adds at least a pound to the tent, but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s difficult to wrap up the tent small enough with my cold fingers, so I don’t bother putting it in its stuff sack.
The quilt, fortunately is not soaked; it’s dangerous to move a soaked quilt because the weight might tear the lightweight seems.
I wrap it up, stuff everything in the pack, and stuff a days worth of food into my rain jacket.
Off we go.
Not so far down the road, there’s a fork wherein the trail turns from the road and into a path.
There’s a water cache, which is very appreciated. Clean water that I don’t have to filter on this cold day.
200 feet beyond that is a really nice campsite. Inaccessible by truck. Cover on all sides.
The soil is supple, and nearly untouched by rain, only morning dew.
I look at it for a moment.
I feel the weight of the extra water on my pack.
I just. look. at it.
Turns out, there’s not much descent from yesterday’s climb up the mountain. I’m crossing another mountain range today.
So, we have ups and downs, all with an extremely biting wind.
I wish I had waterproof gloves. Even wind proof gloves. The wool does provide insulation, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
On a whim, I try taking off the gloves to see how much insulation they’re really providing, as I’m not sure how much wool are really in these gloves.
Ok. There’s definitely enough wool in the material to matter. For the next hour or so, I walk with my gloves hands in my jacket to rewarm them.
Eventually I find a spot that’s somewhat protected from the wind to stop for a snack. Wind still gets through the trees, but not all of it.
My pants are soaked. It feels like the wind has targeted my backside, and one of my cheeks has lost feeling due to the cold.
This is awful.
I want to quit.
But it’s a mountain range. There is no exit except through.
So I keep walking.
If I had rain pants and rain gloves, this wouldn’t be so bad. I would be completely insulated, and feel rather toasty.
I make a mental note: always rain pants.
It’s enjoyable to think how cozy I would be with the appropriate gear. One day.
I don’t really pay attention to the map. It doesn’t matter where I’m going or how long this lasts. I just have to walk through it.
Turning a corner, I see sun. It’s shining pastel down on the mountains. But that’s not where we’re going.
The trail turns away into clouds, darkness, and a steady sheath of hail and sleet.
Same as before. Walk through.
It’s fascinating, having your fingers not respond immediately to the commands you give them. They respond, but with a slower frame rate. I keep them moving, but I’m more entranced with their lack of responsiveness than anything else.
My hands have been cold before. I’ve even had frostbite damage on the padding of my left hand for a while - it took about 2 years to completely heal.
But this is different. They just want to be slow.
Hours pass. My hands have regained their dexterity. Hooray for small wins. I’ve never quite appreciated how easily or precisely my fingers normally move. It’s so luxurious.
I get to a trail head wherein it looks like I’ve exited the weaving path between the mountains.
Now we just walk along the ridge. It’s not sunny, but the wind is slow, and there’s no falling precipitation.
There are inclines, but walking along the ridge, seeing descent to the left and right of the mountain, or maybe hilltop, is my favorite type of trail.
I’m king up here.
The sun starts to peak out, and the landscape changes to fill with cactus and saguaro. This is the first time I’ve seen the stereotypical Arizona cactus.
The rocks almost look like the Grand Canyon, but with a different shade of red. There are a few climbs, but in comparison to last night, and most of the day, I’m no longer susceptible to an emotional slump. I’ve already walked through horrid conditions and I’m fine.
The sun is starting to set.
My gear is wet. I’m not really prepared for a cold night.
I have no solutions currently.