Shelter from the storm
October 24 Lafayette Shelter
Fog itself is a mystery. Forming from nothing and taking over everything. Steps to the privy wash in and out of focus. “How’s Gene doing” I wonder as I listen to his rain fly fighting the winds gusty minions. The shelter is warm here on a cold night. Large groups of people seem to put off enough heat to cut the chill. Thats the trade-off I suppose. Earlier today the amount of people was overwhelming. So many photos being taken and foreign languages spoke. One could have been on any mountain in any country with a bit of imagination.
Snapping back to the trail as a misstep jolts my hips into my legs. “Long day ” I thought as i reached the privy. A flash memory of a styrofoam toilet seat i had visited in Alaska brought on a deep chill. Nope no styrofoam as i lifted the frozen lid. Things have changed on the trail. Nothing is done the same. Everything now takes longer and requires more patience. The transition seems apparent but how quickly we adapt will be told by father time.
Back to the shelter I go. Glancing over towards Genes tent proved life as the glow from his headlamp cast shadows on the sails of his tent. The chatter from the card game above me makes its way into my thoughts. Focus is useless at this point. “Just string something together” i coached myself. “Air Pockets, Base Layers” my neighbors on this level are coaching their first timer. What an experience, First time camping and its in the white mountains, Awesome. More banter from above loosens the silt from between the boards to collect on my sleeping bag. Was this the right move. Is the wet a viable sacrifice for this communication. I jumped in awkwardly when the conversation shifted to who wanted tea. “Can’t go wrong with tea” I blurted. Simple and refined I thought smiling at the barrage of headlamps now pointing my way. The conversation switched back to their court. I nestled back into my baffle blown pad and dimly lit screen blinking about battery failure.
Genes asleep by now if he has not blown off the mountain. Going to have to check on him first thing in the morning. As for now i believe all my effect are packed away in my sleeping bag. The weather tomorrow reads of rain and cold. Makes today all the more awesome.
October 25th – Day Before Summit of Mt. Washington
Two nights in a row I am sleeping in a shelter. Must be the cold weather changing habits. Tonight will be much better as Gene and Bailey are down below me. This shelter is nearly empty. Quite cozy with an occasional crinkle of the tarp that’s pegged halfway down the doorway. Smoke lifts up from my feet as my nose turns in fear. New dry socks will be a treat tomorrow.
The walk today was much less packed. Gene was found alive this morning with a lit cigarette and a smile. Bailey was tucked in when i arrived. Quickly that changed into a scene of flying feathers and blurs wildly beating against the tent as a drummer lost in a rhythmic solo. Genes face appeared to be the symbol for that special clash she needed to tie up the gig. Once packed and on our way weather changed from fog to rain. Each rock glistened with a warning of careful step. The trees spit down big drops that caused immediate chills if it found skin. Sometimes running all the way down ones back and setting up to warm in the belt line. Sneaky little homing cubes destined for your warmest places.
The landscape looked as though an ancient gnome kingdom would call it home. Fantasizing about seeing a bit of smoke and following it to find something amazing. Maybe a whole community living at peace with mushroom umbrellas and tree cabin homes. Moss hung from their tree hosts and lichens of every color green filled in empty spaces. Stones littered the steep grade trail and provided some footing. Fog twirled quickly over our heads. It almost seemed to be late for an appointment and in a terrible hurry. Usually birds were the fastest thing we see. Now the fog takes the stage. Mushrooms are still hanging onto the moss defying the cold with their gills held high. Ferns lay flat under the weight of the rains. Today is a beautiful day. We fell short on distance though. I suppose a stop off in town before Mt. Washington is in order.
That being said double dinner is in store for us. Tonights dish is PBR.. That is pizza bomb roll. Raman noodles with instant potatoes slapped into a tortilla topped with pizza flavored gold fish rolled tight so none swim away. Award winner in the group. Anything warm at night before bed makes me happy now and later. Weather calls for sun and clear tomorrow. What a thing. Never have i cared so much about what the weather is going to do or not do. The sun makes so much difference in my days. But without the rain there is nothing. Especially the ferns and mushrooms i love so much. Tomorrow will be a good day for a good day.
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