I woke up in the dark and crawled out of my tent with my headlamp illuminated, and found a spot to squat for a pee. While I relieved my full bladder, I spotted a really pretty purple-blue, sparkling dew drop on a tree. Or so I thought. After I was done with my pee I walked over and took a closer look. It wasn’t a dew drop. Know what it was? A giant, hairy spider. The “dew drop” was his glowing eyeball! And he was devouring a daddy long leg spider as the poor thing’s long legs twitched around him. I stared, disgusted. His freakin eyes glowed! Like a deer! Like a large, furry mammal! And you know what’s terrifying? When I slowly turned my head and scanned the forest floor with my headlamp, these special little “dew drops” were everywhere! Hundreds. Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t mind spiders – as long as they aren’t on me. In fact, as long as I can safely observe them off of my body, I’m quite intrigued by them. But this new discovery, in addition to the little greasy brown and white guys that lived in the middle of the trail, I was feeling pretty crawly. Too many. Too many spiders!
I took down my tent and found a spot that was spider-free to sit and make my breakfast. I mixed a hearty oatmeal with granola, Nido instant whole milk, peanut butter protein powder, hemp seed, flax and cinnamon. It was really good! Maybe I loved oatmeal again! Maybe…
At 7:30am it was light enough out that I could turn off my headlamp and get ready to hike. I reached into my pack for my toothbrush and went to brush my teeth. When I returned, I realized I stupidly leaned my pack on my hydration bladder’s mouthpiece, draining the last of my water into my hip belt padding and the leaves below. Awwww, shoot. I had 6 miles to hike these crazy hills with no water. This was when I decided I’m over the bladder thing. Bottles for this girl. Not only did the thing have a slow leak, apparently there’s too much room for user error, too. At least for me. What a demoralizing way to start my day!
Thankfully about a mile into my hike I found a small, clear pool of water to treat. I was surprised how good it tasted, considering it was a calm pool with its floor covered in leaves. What a life-saver! Thanks for providing, trail!
At 2pm I stopped to take my shoes off to give my feet a little air and was really happy with how well they were doing in my new Altras. No blisters, although to be fair, I don’t blister that often… You know, because my feet were made for this! Obviously. Hah! I did have some foot fatigue, though, and that actually comforts me. I love that my feet get sore from hiking lots of miles. It reminds me that I’m alive and all that good, deep, sappy stuff. But really… I learned from my two long walks that there is comfort in the discomfort of backpacking, and as much as it can suck at times, I really do love it.
I had tuna with mayo and cheese again for lunch, and I really enjoyed the break – from the stupid spiders, mostly. They were making me crazy-mad just before I stopped. I mean, I was actually getting grumpy! I felt so much better after eating and resting, though, that I chalked the grumpies up to just needing food and rest. There were still spiders the rest of the day, but I was dealing with them with much more patience. Oh, and I stopped for a poo. That might have helped, too.
I found my perfect little campsite – furry spiders and all – on a tall, breezy knob at 5:30. Once the sun went down, the stars came out and it cooled off. I made a mexican rice dinner with Sriracha and Taco sauce, cojack cheese, and potato chips, of course. It was pretty delicious. I did wish I had my tortillas for this one, but it was good out of a bowl, too.
I was in my tent at 7:15, feeling content laying horizontal in the dark, listening to the wind through the tall oak trees above me. It was a recipe for a great night’s sleep. And it was.
A few more photos from the day:
Tonight I love my feet. Because they’re awesome and so tough!
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!