Day 130: Cold and wet

Miles Hiked: 24.5

Total Milage: 2253.4

I woke up to small puddles of water all over the floor of my tent. Last night it thunder stormed and rained for hours. I laid awake scared as blinding lightning flashes struck all around my tent and thunder boomed so loud it felt like the ground was shaking. I’m not sure if a sleeping pad filled with air can insulate me from any lightning strikes but I curled up on my sleeping pad in a very small ball anyways. It was freezing cold and the rain still hadn’t stopped. I did not want to get out of my sleeping bag but I had to go to the bathroom so bad. I braved the cold and rain for a few minutes only to crawl back in my bag as fast as I could. I ended up laying down until 7:30am which is a very rare occasion for me. By 8am, I had completed the dreaded camp chore of packing up my soaking wet tent and I was hiking north again.

I left camp in my sleeping clothes and rain gear over top. I never ever hike in the clothes I sleep in if there is a chance that they will get wet. Today I was so cold I decided to take a risk. There was no way I was stripping down to put on my other clothes. The morning started out by walking through a sopping wet cow pasture and following posts with CDT signs on them. It was so foggy I couldn’t see the view at all. There was a large electrical wire I had to pass under that was buzzing extremely loud. It gave me a lot of anxiety and I realized that the trauma from all the close calls with lightning in Colorado still hasn’t left me. Any time there is a threatening looking cloud I feel like my body goes into the flight response. I have started to have internal dialogue with myself about how not every dark grey cloud wants to kill me and that eventually I’ll be living in civilization again with a place to hide when the weather turns dangerous. Some day I will no longer be running for tree line when the lightning strikes nearby. The rainy day and the buzz of electricity sent my heart rate sky rocketing this morning. The anxiety left after I was about a mile past the stupid buzzing wire.

For most of the day I hiked through a green tunnel of conifer trees. My body was so stiff because I was so cold. I wanted to stop and take breaks so bad but I was too cold to stop moving. Every time I ate a snack today I struggled so hard to get the packaging open because I didn’t have good dexterity in my fingers. Yesterday my headphones broke so I had nothing to distract me from the painfully cold and wet day. I felt like a zombie moving through the forest, thinking about absolutely nothing for hours except for how much I wanted to curl up with my dog and a hot blanket from the dryer. I checked my maps to see if there was any possible way to make it to town today. Negative. I just had to suck it up and deal with it. I was not looking forward to setting up my soaking wet tent at camp tonight.

I didn’t sit down until I had already hiked 17 miles. It was way too cold to lose my body heat by not moving. On my break I cooked a hot meal to keep me warm. I had a breakfast burrito I made with a tortilla, sunflower seed butter, and scrambled eggs with ham and green peppers. I was excited about the scrambled egg mountain house meal I found in the hiker box at the Butte KOA. Unfortunately it didn’t settle well with my stomach and I’m pretty sure I never want to eat scramble eggs on trail again. I’ve also learned when I find food that seems too good to be true in the hiker box, it’s typically not the best. After my hot lunch, 12 pack caught up to me. I had some company for the last few miles to camp. We stopped two miles before our planned campsite and made dinner. I ate a protein bar since I already made my hot meal and we had some hot apple cider that helped warm me up. We got to camp before 6:30 which is super early. I was still freezing cold and everything I had to set up was still soaking wet. Luckily my clothes did manage to stay dry today! I was so happy to finally crawl into my sleeping bag. My feet hurt pretty bad since I hardly took any breaks or stretched today. All my joints and muscles were still super stiff. I need to stretch but a warm sleeping bag is the priority tonight. Tomorrow I will walk 18 miles and hitch into Helena where we have a room with a bed reserved. I’m so excited to lay in bed again, eat town food, and sleep. I just felt so fatigued today. Cold rainy days are hard to get through. Today wasn’t the first and I’m sure it’s not the last.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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