Friday, January 12, 2018

A Very Long Walk in May, chapter 2

May 15, 2017  Our first day! So much mud. Wonder how we will get clean again. Lots of elevation, but the hiking poles helped.  Got to our campsite at 5:45 pm.  Jet is being a good dog and actually got tired!!  Hard but successful day.  I am not scared or worried.  Beautiful, sunny and warm today.  

Tess and I happily starting our 3rd day...notice Tess decided to wear shorts.

Days of Rain
It started raining on day two and didn’t stop completely until day sixteen. Yep, you read that right.  With nighttime temps in the thirties, and sometimes only mid-forties during the day, we had to be extra careful to not succumb to hypothermia; carefully layering on all of our clothes and lining our packs with plastic so that our very valuable 15 degree sleeping bags and tent would stay dry.  If we hadn’t been able to, daily, hop into our warm bags after setting up our tent in driving rain, we would have faced actual freezing…of our skin, our blood, and our minds.

May 17, 2017   Day 3.  We have seen no people or any sign of human existence for three days.  It is very weird.  We had a serious talk about the possibility of an apocalypse.  We have also had no cell service for the entire time.  Today’s trails were flatter than yesterday but so many blow-downs that I felt like I was in an extreme adventure race.  It also started raining at 1 pm and never stopped.  It is very cold.  Physically, I am doing well but am exceptionally dirty and stinky.  The last few days of rain have put a damper on fun and bathing.
Nights of Rain
We endured a driving rainstorm with gale force winds on our third night out.  We felt the temperature drop and the storm rising in late afternoon (unluckily, Tess had chosen that day to wear her only pair of shorts) when we were still two miles away from our chosen campsite. As the pelting rain stung our faces, we hiked fast and hard, constantly scanning the environment for anything that could serve as a shelter. Nothing. Earlier, we had seen on the map, something that indicated that we might encounter an outhouse on the trail--a rare luxury--and a viable, albeit tiny, shelter. We never found it. When we finally arrived at the campsite, we quickly created a little shelter for our dog, Jet, out of hiking poles and a big black garbage bag; he refused to lay under it, and instead, stood bewildered in the rain as we set up our tent in record time.  Feeling sorry for ourselves—and him—we let the drenched and pitiful creature in our dry tent and covered his shivering body with more garbage bags while we snuggled down deep in our sleeping bags and listened to music on my phone.  We were so discouraged by our circumstances that Tess grabbed a pop tart and I, a big cookie, and called it supper.  Then I pulled out my harmonica and attempted to play a song that would drown out the tornado-like storm without (and our fear within). It didn’t work. It was a very long night.
Onward Christian Soldiers
The next morning we lay awake and listened to the unceasing rain as we made a pact to leave by 8 am, rain or shine (a pretty measly pact considering we had only had shine for a few hours on our first day.)  Our deadline came.  The rain continued.  It was incredibly hard to get out of our warm sleeping bags, put on wet clothes, go into the wet weather and fold up our wet tent while our wet dog stood watching.  But we did.  And it was miserable.  No breakfast for us on day 4.  This was not what we had planned, and our spirits were beginning to plummet like the pouring rain.  

We decided to go as fast as we could (so we wouldn’t freeze) and march on out of that wretched wet place.  I told Tess that we had to remind ourselves of the true story; we were out on an adventure together and we were alive and it was good.  God had so far protected us.  We sang every hymn we could remember that morning to help us to think rightly. We needed to be thankful and not discouraged. We covered 12 miles by lunch.  Thereafter, we referred to that time as  “The day that shall never be spoken of.”

May 18, 2017   Day 4.  Last night was really scary with lots of wind and pelting rain. Everything was wet and SO cold.  Thanks God for keeping us safe today.  No supper last night.  No breakfast this morning.  I was super tired and worn out today. Tess is being very patient with me.

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