September 5th, 2004

I managed to actually get out on a hike today—actually more of a stroll., but better than I have done.  I woke up to clear skies but by the time I got my ass out of bed and got dressed, the clouds had returned and it was windy with only patches of blue.

I went down to the lake and took a couple mile stroll around the perimeter arriving at Barring Falls.  It was really not much of a hike, but I am still trying to shake being pooped.  I had forgotten how much sleep I had needed after the last time I hung out with Mary.  I was exhausted for almost three days last time and that time I hadn’t driven 500 miles in one day time.

Rather than fight it, I drove back over the pass to my favorite little area and pulled into a campground in the valley.  No one was around.  It’s Sunday and the holiday weekend so everyone was out hiking at quarter to three.  I found a sweet little spot at the back of the camp ground, popped my top, made my bed, stripped to my long johns and went to bed.

Ah, sweet surrender!

I have not mentioned the ways in which I have winterized the van.  But one of the things I did was to buy three large sheep skins which I lay out over the foam bed and then make my bed over the top of it.  Have you ever slept on sheep skin?  Well I hadn’t either.  It was Mary’s idea.  In addition to it being incredibly luxurious and warm, it is very practical because my butt use to fall in the crack between the two pieces of foam.  It wasn’t immensely uncomfortable or anything but sometimes I would have a sore hip if I flipped onto my side in the night.  The sheep skins bridge the gap and I can’t even feel it.

That was the best nap I have ever taken.  The sheep skins, the 300 count cotton sheets, the duvet, my fatigue, the pitter-patter of rain on the pop-top, the fresh scent of green, the drip, drip of the trees—ah yes, now this is why one travels!  And you though it was all about hiking.

The campground where I am is also the trail head for several excellent hikes so I will stay here tonight and tomorrow night.  It will be nice not to have to break camp in order to reach a trail head.  Interestingly, I have outlasted the season in the national parks and after tomorrow, this campground and about half of the others here and in other parks across the country will close until next spring.  Funny, I remember when I was still early in the season and many of the campgrounds I was staying at had just opened for the season.    Could it really have all gone that fast?