July 21, 2015


It poured last night. It started softly, and then it just dumped. It can be nice to fall asleep to when you're not worried about your things getting wet. It stopped around 10:30, which I know because I woke up and then couldn't sleep. I woke up around 7:15 this morning, and we headed out at 8:30. So I talked yesterday about how I'd gone 7 miles without feeling like I'd gone that far - I hadn't. Even though all the landmarks had lined up, campsites have gotten more and less developed and streamed have grown and dried up and when I finally passed the campsite I meant to sleep at, nearly four miles later, I was beating myself up for being so stupid and naive. Eventually I had no idea how far I'd gone or how far I had to go. My nine-mile day had turned into a 13-mile day. Everything was Very Bad, and I sat down in a gully and got all weepy and felt sorry for myself. Bix was an angel though. He's so good-spirited and enthusiastic about walking aimlessly through the woods until I say stop. I swear at him sometimes and kick at his backpack for doing some doggy thing he didn't realize was wrong (PULLING, ohh my gosh), and he still just grins and walks and grins and walks. He's really a fantastic hiking buddy.

Here's the thing though. I'm spoiled. You say hiking or backpacking and I think of these sweet little destination spots like Rough Ridge and Panthertown. Grayson Highlands was miserable, but even its good views to not good views to trail difficult ratio was better than what I'm dealing with here. You may as well have set me on a treadmill in the forest, wonked up the incline, and thrown stinging nettles and gnats at my face. I knew it wouldn't be glamorous, but I thought it would be worth it. What I've done so far just hasn't been worth it. Bix helps, he really does, but I still could be with him except someplace better. I'm starting to think this isn't the right adventure for me. I'm too extroverted, depend too much on my friends, to be out here alone with Bixby. I need actually human interaction to avoid frequent meltdowns. Plus I can't tie a bearbag to save my life. Tonight I just tied the line to a tree, which isn't how you're supposed to do it, but at least the bags aren't at eye level anymore.

It's still so early, only 8:30. I should stay up until at least 10 if I want half a chance of sleeping through the night. Bix keeps moving around and sniffing the air and looking at things I can't see, and I don't like it. The only people I saw today was a slew of Boy Scouts or something. They didn't talk to me, they just yelled "Stay to the right!" at each other when I passed and cooed at Bix a little. I reached a berry field shortly after I saw them, and I think they ate all the ripe ones.