Sunset passes. There’s still light, because I’m up so high.

Keep going.

The next town is about 15 miles away, maybe I should just try to hike through the night. What other choice do I have?

Around every corner, I hope for an opening. No, just enclosed areas and lots of rocks. My tent won’t fit anywhere around here.

Open space?

No.

Open space?

No.

I’m envisioning for a space of rock with some soil in between like you would see in Moab or Escalante, but there’s nothing. Maybe I’m hiking through the night.

And then, I turn the corner, and there it is - exactly what I was looking for.

Amazing.
Open space

Except, it’s all rock. There’s no soil.

No soil means no tent stakes.

No tent stakes means no tent.

I *can* use rocks to secure the stakes, if they’re heavy enough.

Huh.

No loose rocks.

Wellst.

I mentally slump, not sure what to do.

I wonder. Maybe... No.

Well? Do I need a tent?

Maybe I can cowboy camp.

Cowboy camping is when you have no shelter, you just sleep under the stars.

That’s just...terrifying. That’s exposure. To critters. Wildlife. Bugs.

But. Maybe this is the next step. Maybe it is.

Ok. Cowboy camping it is.

Mind you, I am terrified. I wonder if this is a good idea. I go through my reasoning, and it seems sound.

I’m doing this.

I lay down my sleeping pad, put on all my clothing, and wrap up tight.

I look up. Unfortunately, most of the sky is obscured by clouds. There is a 10% chance of rain, in which case, it’s going to be a tough night, and I’ll have to walk through the night with wet gear.

10% means 90% chance of no rain. I should be fine.

After about an hour, I realize, this is neat.
No tent. No extra overhead. Just me and the stars.

It’s cold, so there are no snakes. It’s supposed to get down to 35 tonight, so all the bugs and critters should be holed up in their warm spaces.

Drip.

Drop.

Right on the nose.

Drip.

On the forehead.

Huh.

Drop.

This doesn’t feel like 10%. And it’s not supposed to rain for another 4 hours.

Drip.

Crap. This is a problem.

Drop.

And then nothing. No more water from the sky. Whew.

I sleep through the night, only waking up once. This is actually this best I’ve slept on the trail thus far.

Just me, the sleeping pad, and the moon.
And that tree that looks like the slender man.

Stupid tree.
Preparation. Let’s do this thing.