The rain wakes me up in the night and I close the last open flap on the tent, then roll over and go back to sleep. When my alarm goes off at six, it’s still raining. I lie awake for a few hours, curled up in my sleeping bag, reading Cloud Atlas on my phone. It’s still raining. We can’t bring ourselves to pack up and go out into it. So we stay in our tents, reading and dozing, until the rain finally dies. It’s three by the time we walk away from the campsite. I would not say morale is high.
We hike a few miles, eating huckleberries along the way, before the rain starts again. Then we’re pushing through overgrowth and I’m soaked from the knees down. It’s dim and foggy and night is approaching and we’re not going to make very many miles today and that feels shitty. We stop at a marginal campsite — a pretty grassy meadow by a stream that would be lovely if it were dry, but since it’s not, we explore a bit further from the trail and find a flattish spot under some trees.
Setting up the tent sucks. The ground is either rooty or too soft, and whenever I tighten one guyline, another pulls a stake out of the ground on the other side. But then there’s a dry space, and I crawl into it. I pull up my book (Consider Phlebas, now; I finished Cloud Atlas this morning) to read while I inflate my sleeping pad. Backup asks why.
“I’m distracting myself,” I answer.
“I’m not happy.”
“Well, what’s going on?”
I’m cold, I’m wet, I’m going so much more slowly than I thought I would be, I miss my cats, I don’t feel like I’m any good at this and I don’t know why I’m doing it…
“Did you write down why you wanted to do this, when you first decided? Could you read it?”
“No, I think I thought it was self-evident.”
“Because it’s a challenge? Because it’s beautiful?”
“Because I love things like this. At least, I thought I did. I love hiking and I loved my bike tour. But I guess it’s different when you can stop in town every day.”
I eat a Clif bar and listen to the first couple songs on Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which I wisely offlined before leaving Portland. Then someone says “hello!” outside our tent; it’s a nobo thru-hiker named OCD looking for a spot to camp. We chat for a bit about the trail and other trails and it cheers me up a bit, it does.
We’ll see, we’ll see. I don’t know. We’ll get to Stevens Pass when we get to Stevens Pass. Those silly lyrics I wrote the other day, I even said it: whatever will be, will be.