When you are on a trip this size there are going to be invigorating and exciting days and there will be long hard days. July 12th was the latter. We had 13 miles, most of it a gradual (read never ending) uphill without much in the way of visual stimulation outside of an uninteresting forest scene. Some sections of trail are physically torturous; this one was psychologically torturous. For 13 miles we hiked uphill, but we never got anywhere. We never got to the top of the ridge, we never got to an overlook with a sweeping view, we never crossed a stream or passed through a meadow. We just kept hiking uphill on a dusty trail through a sparse forest.
I put in the miles because they needed to be put in.
When we arrived to camp at Purple Lake I was tired and grumpy.
I needed a tent hug.
Normally, on a backpacking trip I would only ever put my tent up if there were bugs or bad weather. Usually I’ll throw my sleeping bag down on top of a ground cover and lay down in the fresh air, enjoying the view of the stars and the chance to be slowly woken up in the morning by the gradual process of dawn.
But on this trip I put my tent up more times than not.
The obvious difference between this trip and any other I’d been on was the length. Before this trip my longest backpack had been 8 days. This trip would end up being 43 days. For me I think my tent was a little home, maybe even a way to have a break from being on the trail. I could crawl in and be inside, not on a daunting 400-mile adventure. I didn’t use it for safety. I have no delusion that a thin layer of nylon will provide any sort of shield from the claws of a wild animal. No, I think my tent helped ground me and gave me a sense of mental security.
It is a tent hug.
Just like any other hug it doesn’t protect you or change where you are or what you’re going through it just supports you, encourages you. That day I needed a tent hug.
Click here to see some of the great places I got to bed down and/or set up my tent in the A Tent Hug gallery.