To save time, the snowfield looked solid despite the waning sunlight. Each foot carefully placed with a solid kick as the drizzle had already softened the uppermost layer. Safely across, footsteps accelerated as light diminished one shade a moment. The rockiest section of the trail. To early for a headlamp. Scamper, fluid on one’s feet to reach tread that was more dirt, less challenging to negotiate. Still, I held out from using my headlamp wanting to use my night vision for as long as possible. The drizzle sent waves of moving fog. No stars would guide my way. Just descend. Quickly and safely.
Pulling my workpants from the stuff sac I rummaged then gave up and dumped the bag full of extra shirts, socks, hats and gloves. I was short the boy shorts normally worn beneath the Carhartt work pants best suited for trail projects.
Unzipping the first aid kit I grabbed the plastic ziplock that tightly held a heavy duty bright orange garbage bag. Large enough to fit a human – it could easily be re-purposed as a body bag if needed. Pulling on my fluffy camp socks was followed by tights then fleecy comfy pants. Next came a buff, a fleece lined mid-weight shirt, then a fluffy fleece shirt with a high neck. All that was topped with a wool hat, puffball jacket and lightweight gloves brought for the just in case cool mornings.
At the bottom of the hill I wondered if my SOS text last night resulted in a sleeping bag in the truck bed. Less than three minutes later the uphill progression began in darkness so black my headlamp barely outlined a mark in the pathway. No stars. A persistent patter of raindrops and quiet that could have been scary if it wasn’t so invigorating. The pathway unseen but easily followed. My location known from knowledge of the trail. The snowfield stared at but judged too risky. The trail growing slushy as lightning flashed in the distance. Thirst beckoning for a break but camp was just a little way further.
Legs stretched the length of the tent. Carhartts pulled on. Shirt tucked. Button secured and zipper pulled. Pants feel a bit roomier than normal.
The plastic bag feels wet inside. I feel clammy. Camp. Cold. Tad uncomfortable.
Morning is appreciated. The warm sun will turn to dark skies later in the day. Tools that will be hoisted and swung. Dirt filling the gap of my waist band and the cuffs of my pants. A string used for a belt to hold all in place. But tonight, a sleeping bag instead of a big orange trash bag.