This past week, I went on a backpacking trip that was meant to be 5 days but had to be shortened to 3 days because of the cold, rain, and insufficient gear for the weather. Below, see my stream-of-consciousness panicky ramblings as I waited for my sister and her boyfriend to meet me at our campsite.
It’s now nearly 3pm. I say this to be generous with myself – it’s 2:44 but I’m going to be alone here until 7:30 or 8. I’m going to make a schedule of how I’ll while away the hours, so I don’t go crazy.
I just heard a loon call on Center Pond near where I’m hunched over in a shelter, so melancholy. Everywhere I look it’s so splendidly green. I think I’ll have a nip of a drink to warm my heart, so cold at present. I don’t know why I’m talking like this.
I’m at Crider shelter and a man just came to interrupt my hours of solitude. I’m comforted by the proximity of human life, but I’m unnerved at the invasion. Now I won’t fear bears. I’ll just fear the discomfiture of being a young woman alone near a man. I can’t blame the man, though; he seems pleasant enough. He’s mid-40s, of medium build, flecks of silver in his short beard. He told me his trail name is Popeye “because that’s my Facebook name.” Well, now that I mention it, he didn’t tell me that – I just saw his entry in the trail register after he handed it back to me. He asked me my name and I said “Kris,” and he asked if that’s my trail name or my real name. I said it was my real name and he shrugged.
The wind is brushing its chilly hands on all the leaves, making the woods heave a collective shudder. Rain has started tapping hesitantly on the shoulder of the world. I can hear the tapping, but for now it’s just a suggestion. I can’t see any droplets yet. Amidst the uncertain noises of the rain beginning to fall, I can hear the long call of the loon on the pond. It’s achingly insistent, full of tears, announcing its sorrow, its unfulfilled desires, to the water, the grass, the white clovers that carpet the ground of this campsite wherever the pine needles aren’t.
It’s 4:38. Earlier today, I scheduled a nip of a drink for about this time. I think I’ll have it now.
I feel sorry that the stranger, alias: Popeye, has to crouch in his tent while I selfishly stuff the shelter to capacity with my stiff demeanor. My sister won’t be here for another 2 hours, 22 minutes. Maybe longer.
An online camping/backpacking forum admonishes that you shouldn’t drink alcohol if it’s cold. You’ll feel colder because it constricts your blood vessels or something. I don’t know anything about that, but I want some alcohol now.
I just reached into my bear canister for my nip and almost took the top off my liquid camp soap and drank that. Is there a metaphor here?
I grow concerned to hear what sounds like the gentleman breaking sticks to burn. Fires are not permitted at this site, nor anywhere on the greenway. Then again, open containers of alcohol are not permitted anywhere outside of private property, so I’m no saint either. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a false equivalency.
Whewee, that nip sure cleared my sinuses.
Do you see how easy it is to write when you haven’t the slightest intention of its being for academic reasons? Also, as an unrelated sidenote, it is quite cold here in these woods, but if Ronja could handle it, so can her descendant and distant relation who, alas, has too much Irish blood coursing through her constricting veins.
The rain is wonderful. I can hear it now, rapping its knuckles smartly on the roof in a syncopated rhythm. The rain isn’t heavy yet, so only a few drops sift through the canopy at a time.
I plan to call my sister in 4 minutes to get the lay of the land, namely her arrival at this campsite.
This be the present lay of my land:
I just took two photos, first of what I can see right now, second of my own face. My lips are bright red at present because they are so chapped. I just barely applied chapstick so now they sting dully, but in a good way. Maybe I should try to write some fiction.
5 min later
I called my sister and she said she’ll be here at around 7 at parking and arrive at camp 10 minutes later. That is far better than what I expected. I should probably make dinner and get ready for bed at 6pm so I have something to busy myself with whilst anxiously waiting.
I have some words to say about Ronja, since I’ve just finished the book for the second time while on the greenway. My problem with it is the cruelty that it’s not longer. It’s the most amazing book ever in the history of the world. Ronja would never be afraid of these woods. I’m not sure how she’d fare with encountering humans, but she’d never fear a moose nor bear. The population of earth was so much smaller when she was (fictionally) around. The world wasn’t as scarred by the big black demon that makes cancerous tumors grow on trees instead of fruits.
It’s getting chilly now. I was so warm right after the nip but now I’m shivering again. I’m so tired.
Hello, fair souls. It’s now 6:23 and I’m cold. I’m waiting for my sister and her boyfriend still, but at least now I’ve had something to eat! I wasn’t really hungry, but I was getting tired of visualizing in my head the act of making dinner. But now I have to pee – but best wait ‘til they get here, since I’m not alone.
It’s very cold. I keep thinking I hear voices, but I suppose it’s only the woods talking to the trees. They won’t be here for another hour yet. I’m So Cold, but I’m Also So Tired so maybe I’ll catch a wink or two.
Hello there; here I am again. It’s hard to believe it’s only been about a half hour, but the bright side of all joy is that I have put on my rain cover and am now so much warmer, though still as cold as I’ve ever been in life. You will notice that my handwriting is much improved. That would be because I’m no longer writing while lying on my side.
“Unfortunately no, though medication has helped in a few cases.”
– Spencer Reid
Writing is so slow. I just wrote down some random shit Spencer Reid said on one of the Criminal Minds episodes I downloaded, which I’m listening to now, and writing is so much slower than speaking, which is slower still than thinking. Do you know what else is slow? Hiking. I want to move twice as fast as I am capable of moving.
I AM COLD but it’s by my own choice for now. I am wearing clothes that are okay to get a tiny bit wet when I go pee, but they’re not my warm clothes.
I just called my sister. TURNS OUT SHE WON’T BE HERE FOR ANOTHER HOUR.
It is sometime later, probably after 9. After saying she’d arrive by 8, my sister rolled up at 8:59.
I apologize for my unruly outburst above. I am pleased that my sister and her boyfriend came all this way in the pouring rain.
After taking my sleeping pill, I am making another smart decision in writing this to calm my mind.
Please pray I do
I did not die of cold, but I did sleep for approximately two hours, only to wake up in terror, my fingers and toes numb. I then proceeded to sprint 0.8 miles in a blind panic through every puddle known to man so I could sleep in my sister’s car. The next day, we did a short day hike and my sister drove me back to my car. Not my most successful trip — but certainly a story.