GSMNP, NC (3/4)
As the fire dwindled and the night fully engulfed the campground, I was listening to the creek running close to my truck. Before I fell asleep, I wanted to see how the stars looked. This was my camera’s view after 30 seconds of exposure. Sadly, no stars, only fluffy clouds.
Reflecting on the 120 pages of the book I was reading, I couldn’t help but think that this wasn’t the solo adventure I was truly hoping for. Sure — I was only a couple hours drive away from home, there were other people around me so I didn’t feel “out there”, and I knew that morning was only a couple hours away. I didn’t feel like I actually left any comfort or safety. I didn’t feel like I was wrapped up in a trek. I drifted to sleep while wrapped tightly in my sleeping bag and trying to use my breath to warm up my exposed face against the polyester.
Suddenly, I jolt out of my sleep. I open my eyes. I check my watch. I gain my bearings. I’m freezing. It’s 2 o’clock. I’m freezing. I have another 5 hours at least until the sun comes up. I’m freezing. Did I say I was freezing? I couldn’t fall back asleep. My body was violently vibrating with all the various muscle moving to try and warm myself. It was 20 degrees. I was freezing.
Suddenly, another jolt. I’m freezing. I have to pee. It’s 4 o’clock in the morning. I’m freezing. Every move I make is making me colder. I listen. I don’t hear the creek babbling in the background. I open my eyes and uncover my sleeping bag from over my head and revert out of the fetal position. As I glanced out of my cocoon, I can’t see anything lights. I turned on my headlamp and see only white. And a lot of it. In the two hours since I had been awake, it had snowed and muffled the sounds of the creek. That’s nice and relaxing — if you’re inside a house with a fire cracklin’. Turning the inside levers, I opened the back hatch of the camper shell and glance out. I didn’t wake to a little snow like I thought, I woke to way worse. Do I leave before it gets worse? Do I stay and get stuck? Either way, here’s my adventure.