I inched closer to the fire, the chill of night started to seep through my damp clothes. Rain gear was strewn about, for about 8 miles the skies opened up on us. Drenched to the core is never a fun way to start off 32 miles, but we endured. Looking up I could see the shadows of the fire dancing against the trees, beyond that the first stars were starting to twinkle. Despite the picturesque scene something just didn’t quite feel right.
Unable to sleep through yet another flight you succumb to watching the sunrise. As the light brightens you’re rewarded with what might be the most stunning view you’ve ever seen: the sun rising along the Great Wall of China, from the air. You smile, it’s kind of funny flying over the Great Wall, gliding over one of the great wonders of the world only to arrive in the land of the people it was built to keep out.
We finally arrived at camp right near a road. It was disappointing. I had walked all day only to find myself sleeping near a bunch of dispersed car campers. So much for feeling like I was in remote wilderness. Little did I know this save our butts next morning.
Flash. I’m on the mountain. At least I hope I am. I’m pretty much limited to the small beam of light my crappy headlamp from Target puts out. Every now and then I see green eyes up the trail, one of the dogs is looking back at us. But as I walk almost begrudgingly up hill my head slowly clears. As my heart rate rises and the oxygen thins an easy calm comes over me. A focus I only feel on the mountain. The physical exertion almost secondary to the mental peace I have.