Well that sucked. But it wasn’t the end of the world (so far).
The weather system that kept me in Patagonia on Day 4 didn’t make it through the area before morning. It was 37 and raining when I woke up. I debated about staying another day, but It just seemed like the whole “first time backpacking solo” thing just needed to get started.
Got in a solid 7 miles before the rain started in earnedt just before 1:00 and it rained off & on the rest of the day. Hiking wasn’t too bad—no big wind & temps in low-mid 40s for the most part. Couple of tough climbs and a few miles of rocky, dry creek bed trail, but otherwise pretty pleasant. Didn’t see a soul all day except the woman w/4 off-leash dogs who assured me “only one of them is dangerous.”
I could tell there were some great views, but clouds obscured most of them. Still got a few decent pictures.
Around 5:00, I saw a great camp spot and the rain had pretty much stopped, but I was feeling good, and still had plenty of daylight, so I decided to pass it by & try to get to Tunnel Spring before dark … bad idea.
After one steep mile- long climb, the trail was easy—I was moving out & feeling pretty smug about making it nearly 19 miles in only 8 hours. I felt good & the terrain / scenery was beautiful.
And then, it started to rain hard—damn. The trail was on a steep rocky hill down to a ravine—no camp spots—double damn—hopefully it will stop raining … it did. Right until I started setting up camp, then the heavens opened up and it poured harder than it had all day. Finally got tent set up (record time of 6 min, which is plenty of time for the entire thing to get wet—inside and out.) UGH!
Next problem: stove won’t light! Too cold for lighter to do more than spark & cold was giving fuel probs too. I was about ready to give up & eat tomorrow’s cold lunch for dinner, when I tried lighting one of my back-up matches w/the spark from the lighter and then lit the stove …,it worked!! Had a hot dinner under the tent flap … w/chocolate for dessert.
So … the worst has happened—setting up camp in rain & dark after long, wet day. I don’t think I can say I truly survived it until I make it to morning w/out freezing to death (temps have fallen considerably since dark), but I can say I’m in my tent w/food in my belly, a warm sleeping bag and so far the tent doesn’t leak.
Btw … I do not think it is possible to overstate the comfort/morale value of clean, dry socks!
Daily Miles: 18.8
Total Miles: 70