I’m awake at 3:30 – my initial reaction is “what fresh hell is this”, but I’m actually feeling better than I have any right to be, considering I didn’t eat last night. Not that I intend to eat now; I’m writing for the blog, taking notes from yesterday for the water report, generally reviewing the day to see what’s in store for us. I should do this more often. Continue reading
My alarm goes off at 4:30, but I lay there in the light-enough-to-see-by until 4:45, just watching the day begin. Our plan was to make it out of camp by 5:30, but the fact that it’s so bright already at 4:30 is unnerving; yet another aspect of this trip I didn’t prepare for. I don’t know if I want this – it’d be easy enough to just turn around, head out the ten miles we headed in and what is this, what are these thoughts that I’m having, wanting to end something that’s scarcely begun. That’s not how we do things with this human. Get it together. Continue reading
I check the clock, fearful of waking my hosts. It’s 3:11am. I think I’m going to have a hard time getting back to sleep, but by the time I’m done thinking it it’s 6:25 and my alarm is going off. I hit the snooze button and once again time twists changes slows, for me, for this moment; the ten minutes to 6:35 try to give me a few last moments of peace, of comfort.
Once I start walking, that’s likely to change.
Where other hikes have hinted at buds, new beginnings, springs, the coming of my Grand Enchantment Trail start date feels like an ending.
The cycles of light and dark are different from inside a house. Day and night lose some of their meaning as I push back against both – walls, roofs, curtains all conspiring to darkness in daytime, while switches everywhere await a near-effortless command to bring light in an instant at night. The power’s enough to cause a superiority complex; disconnection, above, beyond, instead of connection, one with, part of. Just one more reason, I think, to get back outside and stay a while.
Still, I’d forgotten how intensive preparing for a hike can be. Continue reading
It’s a lively entrance into the harbor – a few fishermen are chilling in the commercial channel, and seem entirely unbothered by the large passenger vessel approaching them at speed. They don’t move or really bother to look up before an unexpected blast from the ferry’s tooting mechanism and an adapted loudspeaker rendition of “hey you kids get offa my lawn” from the captain, after which they grudgingly make way. We put in and tie off with no further excitement, save the fact that we’re here, Isle Royale National Park at last. Continue reading
It’s barely the end of August, and the chill tendrils of fall are starting to push their way into Michigan’s upper peninsula. I’ve spent the majority of the day until now wrapped in my sleeping bag, first in the tent, then in the hammock, and I’ve been thankful for it – it’s our first day in five that we’ve been allowed to sleep in, to move in the morning of our own accord. Still, the cold of both the mornings and the evenings haven’t lent themselves to much movement; only in the stark sun of the cool afternoons are short sleeves, a skirt, tolerable.
We’ve been working hard since we arrived in the UP, first at trying to make miles with packs not purpose-built, then at making connections, first on Isle Royale, then here on the Keweenaw Peninsula. We’ve spent a week here, catching up from our week out of service, working with incredibly passionate people to protect the lands they’re slowly turning from private to public. The lack of any real break, combined with the emotional fallout from a return to a land of false equvalencies and attempts at public lands-grabbing, has meant a starker schedule for me: wake, work, succumb to the inexorable draw of a nap, half-wake, work late, dinner late, insomnia. Repeat. It’s only now, with a half-day to myself – Spesh knows I need recharge time, and has left me to my own devices – that I’m able to look back on the last couple weeks, to feel like I can do the Isle Royale trip any justice in words that, before now, stayed obstinately stuck inside. But here’s a taste, to be augmented in the coming posts. Continue reading
We’ve slept inside been doing a lot of sleeping inside in the last couple of weeks. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to enjoy the dregs of summer, but I’ve got friends all over, and given that tomorrow
could apparently bring nuclear war isn’t promised, I’ve been making it a point to see them where I can. I haven’t been too worried about it, mostly because I know that our trip to Isle Royale National Park is fast approaching. This’ll be the second time in as many weeks that I’ll have gotten out to hike, and while we’re trying to do 50-odd miles on this latter trip, any amount of time sucking wind and enjoying the outside feels good these days. Continue reading
Friday morning, I’m just settling into my to-do list and I get a call – it’s my new employer, wanting to know if I’m available to pick up some more work. Mama need to make dat skrilla, so yes, yes I am available. When I arrive, settle into the scope of the project, I fear I may have bitten off more than I can chew; the work’s certainly entertaining enough, but having picked it up in the middle of doing things it goes a lot more slowly than I would like. 14 hours later, I regret everything – it’s 2:30am, and I’ve got the Rockies Ruck tomorrow. And by tomorrow, I mean I need to be up in four hours. Hoo boy. Here we go. Continue reading
Spring has sprung, the move’s complete, I’ve updated the Gear List to reflect my PCT gear, and I’m stoked for the ALDHA-West Colorado Rockies Ruck, set to go down this Saturday, March 11th in Golden, Colorado!
Basically a convention for section hikers, thruhikers and would-be thruhikers, this year features vendors like Granite Gear, Gossamer Gear, and Mont-bell, a gear panel, an hour for one-on-one pack shakedowns, a Leave No Trace presentation, lightning and water safety demonstrations, breakout sessions to talk specific trails, and a keynote given by Jean Ella, the first woman to hike the Continental Divide Trail. I’m heavily involved this year as a part of the gear panel, a pack shaker-downer, and the PCT breakout session facilitator.
I’ve been going to this event for three years running, and it’s always a good time; tickets, which include breakfast, lunch, and social hour afterwards, are $35 – but what you get is well-worth the price. So if you’re looking for something to do Saturday, and you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us for a hikertrashy good time!