One month solo on the Appalachian Trail
I awake to the steady pitter-patter of rain against my tent.
Time to get up, I repeat to myself for the umpteenth time. You have to keep moving; staying put will get you nowhere. It's raining now - nothing you do will change that - but one day, the sun will come out. That's for sure.
Slowly, I roll out of my sleeping bag and begin to break camp: I let the air out of my sleeping pad, stuff all my belongings into their respective sacks, and tie up the tent. 2 1/2 hours. In a couple weeks, perhaps, I'll get that down to 1.
I quickly get used to the rain. Fog blankets the valleys below. Through gaps in the trees, I glimpse snatches of wintry half-barren mountainsides. Further along the trail, golden buds and small flower blossoms herald spring. I hope spring shows up in the Shenandoahs, I think.
By midday, the sun breaks through the clouds.
I hike on, battling exhaustion by the end of the day, wondering what new trials dawn will bring.