It was such a relatively small thing, and yet, it calmed my restlessness. A night in my hammock at the Donner Pass trailhead on the PCT, dropping Arizona off after he took another zero day. It gave me a new appreciation for everything I love about backpacking.
|My happy place: my hammock.|
I love the feeling of having everything I need on my back. Being able to select my own spot for the night. How the place is ever-changing, but it transforms into my home the moment I set down my pack. Such freedom.
I delighted in the simplicity of camping. I have learned an economy of motion in setting up camp from my time on the PCT. I am quick and the setup is uncluttered. Everything is where I need it. Everything in my pack has a purpose.
Just for the night, I attempted a few changes in my setup to see if I could save weight- including cutting down my foam mat/ leg insulation to 4 segments instead of 6. I could tell it wouldn't work long-term- my feet stuck over the edge too much (oh darn it long legs!), so if it had been any colder I would have had frozen feet. But it gave me a satisfying feeling to keep trying new things, to keep trying to optimize.
The last glow of evening light faded on the granite. The tree branches were silouetted against the darkening sky. There was a persistant hum of mosquitoes. They were everywhere, circling and biting. My heart filled with joy for being on the PCT. Yes, I'd missed even these pesky blood-sucking beasts.
I fell soundly asleep moments after zipping up my hammock and tucking my quilt around me. The comfort and familiar hiker-funk smell of the hammock a huge reassurance, and sense of calm filled me. I had that clarity that I am on the right path for me, that I will get back to the trail in due time. That I will not take any part of this experience- the delight in making camp, savoring everything about night on the trail- for granted.
|I am NOT backpacking. I am just carrying my pack very slowly a short distance to camp.|