Day 139: Biting Cold

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If I thought that the day a few days ago, in between our forever stay in Sisters, was terrible, I was wrong. Today was freezing. It was brutal. It was bad.

I woke up very, very early and in the pitch dark I found myself drowning in my bivvy. The rain was snaking around my head tent (my Tyvek sheet that I turn into a makeshift A-frame around my face) and pouring straight into my bivvy, creating a sweet little puddle for my knees to dip into. I shuffled around a little in the dark, trying to keep the driving rain off of me, and then, unsuccessful, simply turned over and tucked myself further down into my bag.

I woke again an hour or so later, finding myself needing to push further toward the feet of my bivvy to keep the rain from spraying my face. Then again another hour later, when I found the entire top of my sleeping bag, my hair, and my top third of my pad soaking wet. I mopped up the water with my sleeping bag liner and continued burrowing down, praying that I wouldn’t freeze before dawn.

I finally woke at 6.30, realizing I would shiver myself to death and fry all of my electronics (by far my greater concern, über connected vixen that I am) if I didn’t move now. I got myself, shaking, into my crappy rain gear (the good stuff comes for Washington) and shoved all of my soaking wet, disgustingly dirty gear into my soaking wet, filth caked bag.

“I have to leave,” I whispered loudly to Felix.

“Do you want to come in my tent?” She asked.

“I need to ward off hypothermia,” I replied.

Then I boogied.

Except I didn’t. I was going straight uphill, and it was hard. I hadn’t eaten or had my coffee (I need coffee!). I hadn’t catholed or peed. I was dry heaving from sleep deprivation and lack of food. I felt so bad.

I slowly took care of my needs, and as my nausea and sleepiness and coldness lifted I looked around.

I had arrived in fall in the Pacific Northwest. I had finally come home.

The mist enveloped the murky woods around me and the rain was more like a cloud than individual droplets. I was surrounded by that so familiar damp that I hold so dearly in my heart, the home I just discovered I had lived without for my entire life.

Felix caught me eventually, with a huge smile and tiny short shorts. Her legs weren’t cold, she assured me, but her trash compactor bag fashioned into a minidress proved her core was.

We walked 13.5 of the longest miles to a place called Ollalie Resort, where we were planning on meeting Boomerang. We finished the hike in a driving (very un-PNW) rain punctuated by gusts of wind and freezing water to our faces. My back hurt from hunching over against the cold. My stuff was all desperately wet. 

 We agreed that neither of us could sleep in the rain tonight. As we walked up to the resort (another with generous use of that word!), I saw a “No Vacancy” sign posted. My heart dropped, but I pushed inside and asked anyways.

There was one large room left. My heart sunk. Large means expensive. I asked how much, and the kindly wisp of a man answered, “$60.” I almost fainted with joy. All of my dreams come true!

And here I sit, next to a blazing wood burning stove so hot that I just moved further away from its red licks. Three peoples’ gear is splayed out around the tiny, uninsulated rustic cabin. We have hung every wet item from every hook and low rafter. We are finally dry and warm.

Pain, it turns out, is just the most glorious segue into pleasure. And I wouldn’t change a single moment of today.