Morning came, as it always does.
The wind whipped and swirled and howled. It tugged and pushed and pulled on my tent. It suppressed and taunted my desire to move from within the thin, wet, quivering walls of my shelter; to don my wet clothes and depart.
It had stopped raining. This was of great fortune. The temperature, however, the temperature had plummeted and the wind moved fiercely through the trees. Through the trees. I could only imagine the mighty force the wind must present atop a mountain.
I had to move.
I slowly packed up my things, wiping down or wringing out what I could to free it of excess mousture. My pack was sure to be pounds heavier from water weight.
Deep breaths. I pulled on my torn wool leggings and shorts, both sopping wet. Not too bad. Next it was the top. The top, and the dreaded wet socks. It will all be alright once you start moving, I told myself. And, hey. The wind might even help to dry things quicker.
I threw on my top, pulling down the clingy wet fabric over my body as quickly as possible. I let out a shiver (more for dramatic effect than anything else). There. Not so bad. I slipped on my socks (I had placed them in a zip-loc and slept with them in the toe-box of my sleeping bag. So, though wet, they were also warm), and stuffed each foot into a wet boot and laced them secure. I threw my pack out the side entrance of my tent, then my sleeping mat. Then, I emerged.
I turned and looked at my tent. I laughed. I pulled the stakes from the earth, removed the rod from its center, and recovered the missing stake.
I stepped on to the trail.
It was already late morning.
I climbed Saddleback Jr. The wind was strong, but the skies were blue, the clouds puffy and amiable.
Water was plentiful. There were many strong flowing brooks and streams. I stopped beside one, listening to its song, and enjoyed lunch.
Then I climbed Lone Mountain. It had grown dark and cold. When I reached the wooded summit, there was a tentsite. I stopped for dinner. It was terrifically frigid. I took out my sleeping bag just to keep warm. Then I decided to stay. Huddled in a little cocoon of down, twisting within my bag so that it covered my face and trapped the heat of my breath, I fought to secure sleep.