This morning I poked my head out of the sleeping bag and saw the sun poking its own fiery self over the horizon. It was the first sunshine we’ve had, and it felt so good, even though I had not slept well. (I am a weenie and chill easily. Note to self: purchase eight or so packs of Hot Hands at next town.)
In the days before, we had weathered, in the following order: fog, rain, thundershowers, snow (my first time hiking in it, though only a quarter inch), blasts of gusty wind for about 24 hours straight, and as a result, blowing snow. It was great. I mean, it partly sucked. But the feeling of beginning our journey was surreal and positive. J.’s parents had dropped us off at the trailhead, up the muddy dirt road, two hours from home. There were lots of photos, and a beautiful guardian angel prayer from J.’s mom, that she had learned from her mother, J.’s Grandma Wise. I was crying from gratitude and love of J.’s parents, and I also felt a very pure joy. I had thought I would be more frightened. We both had nervous stomachs during the drive up. But my butterflies fled the moment my shoes hit the ground.
So: I’m quite tired, but enjoying myself immensely. J. has been dealing with a few aches and pains as we begin, but is enjoying himself immensely too. Now it’s time to head into the woods again. Photos will come soon, I hope.
P.S. Our first “trail angel” was the U.S. Army. They left a camo trailer full of potable water at a road crossing. It sure beat the slushy ice water I had been carrying through the wind and snow.