My first hike of 2021. I didn’t start packing my gear until I finished work, and so it was dark when I left home. I started my hike in the dark at 7:40 p.m. There was some light from the risen half-moon, the sky was clear, and, as far as I was concerned, all was well with the world.
On the trail, what immediately surprised me was seeing the sprinkling of lights from all the houses, towns, and cell phone towers surrounding the wilderness. The lights showed through the bare trees, where you couldn’t see the surrounding countryside in daylight. Walking down the trail towards a distant light almost had me thinking there was someone on the trail coming towards me. Following the trail was easy, and I kept my headlamp on its lowest setting — which proved to be a mistake when I accidentally took the Cedars Trail in the dark. No harm done, I’d only gone ½mile when I realized my mistake and backtracked. What’s an extra mile between friends?
In just under two hours, I hiked 4.38 miles to get to my campsite at ‘Twin Falls Hollow.’ It was only when I got ready to collect some water to heat my dinner that I discovered that I’d forgotten my 64oz unfiltered (dirty) water bottle in my hurry to get going. I sat down and went through the options. Boiling my water, chemically treating it, etc., then I thought I’d check if the cap on my 8oz washing water bottle was the same size as my filter. It was. It took four fills to get 32oz of water, and I only had 8oz spare instead of my normal 64oz, but it was workable. By the time I’d set up camp, filtered water, cooked and eaten dinner it was gone midnight, and the temperature was rapidly dropping to the low-to-mid twenties.
I was expecting it to remain cold and clear overnight and into Saturday afternoon when it was forecast to cloud over with some rain overnight, ready for a rainy hike out on Sunday. Where have I heard those predictions before? Seems like a continuation of September through December 2020 to me. Not to worry, I knew what the forecast was when I started, and this was just the weather I’d anticipated when I upgraded my hiking clothes last year.
I’d like to say I had a wonderful night. I didn’t. For some reason, my bladder went into overdrive. If I got up to pee once, I got up at least half a dozen times. At least I was nice and warm in the hammock, and to compensate, I slept in. All in all, that’s a good start to my 2021 backpacking season.
Copyright © 2021 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.