I had a bad day the other day. One where nothing seemed to mesh, where I felt out of sync, out of sorts. I mean, nothing bad happened. It was not like that. There were no accidents or injuries, no illnesses or health scares. I just hit a wall and I hit it hard.
It was a travel day. I was leaving one camp to find my next spot. I had not planned ahead, and really was not sure where I was going. I had a general area in mind, but that was it. My “non-plan” was to get to a certain city and set up at a restaurant, do my research while I ate, and then choose. Even that did not quite go as planned.
I packed up my camp in the usual way. It had rained just enough to get the rainfly wet, which put me into “wet packing” mode. This is where I pack up the tent itself separately than the rainfly. Fortunately, my set-up allows for me to manage the actual tent inside of the rainfly. The fly sits on top of the tent poles, while the actual tent hangs from them. The foot print is another matter and is more difficult to keep dry and clean. No matter, it was not raining when I got up and packed the Jeep. I had a final conversation with some new travel friends, gave my contact card to keep in touch, and chatted a while more. My new friend was very interested in how I packed and organized myself. Honestly, I have it down to a science. My science and my system that I know by heart. She was genuinely curious and I enjoyed extolling my creativity and showing the unique features of my setup.
Credit where it is due, these things were not all my original ideas. I did homework and research and asked others. But, the system I have now is all of my own doing. I arrived here by trial and error, by guessing, adjusting, trying and adjusting again. A very intentional and detailed process that is now my life. Initially, I really did long for the day it all came naturally. I hated those first few weeks of adjustments and trying it out and figuring it out. I am way more settled and that feels really good. It is a comfort to know how to live and have a basic foundation confirmed.
Back to travel day. I left on a good note, my evap milk and Blueberry Crunch Cliff Bar at the ready. I headed in the direction I had previously chosen. I had a window of a few hours between rain to get to my camp and get set up. I kept changing my mind. I could not decide where to go or when to land. I kept hearing the voices of other people in my head suggesting places to go and things to see. I could not and did not hear my own voice.
Perhaps that is where my confusion started. I did not stop when I thought, and then I lost an hour with the time change. I got all turned around in Duluth, got way too low on gas, and then had a traffic detour that sucked precious time out of my day. I got back on track and now did not want to stop for lunch, I just wanted to find and get to camp. I did stop at a large visitor center that had great information and helpful staff.
I then chose my location, based more on time, but also on things to do. I contemplated a developed campground, but found the $28 per night a little steep AND the one spot I wanted, within sight and sound of the lake, was not available two nights. I chose something the folks here call an “outpost” campground. That means not developed, no running water and a pit toilet. That is fine, but they neglected to say that the spots are not tent friendly and turn into a mud hole in all this rain and is a 50 yard walk to the shitter. I got the flattest one I could, which still had a slope. I am sleeping with a slight slant towards my feet. I knew to pitch the tent so that I was parallel with the slant, and to make my feet at the bottom part. It is not enough to actually slide down, but I am not happy about even a little slant. Thankfully, someone else had made a spot that was covered in grass so that I was not literally pitching my tent in mud. That ended up being a blessing as it rained and stormed during the night and again this morning.
I showed up at the developed site to learn how camping in a Michigan park works. As with Minnesota, there is a state pass and I can either pay by the day, or just get the annual. I should not be surprised, my own home state of WA does the same thing. I chose to get the annual and not every worry about access again during this or any other stay here. I also had to go to the outpost, choose my site, then come back to pay. No self-pay? Nope, not here. Thankfully it was only $17 but for what I got, way too much money. Worst physical camp site yet. Boo!
I set up camp and then, after so many hours in the car, decided not go after food. I basically ate my snacks. Oh, and I was warned about bears, though there are no bear lockers. No food or eating in the tent for me. I do not want to invite any creature, and there are many here, to come sniffing around. I am isolated enough for that to actually be a thing.
All during this time I was indecisive, could not make up my mind about anything, and just felt out of it. I was not on my game, I was not in Pilgrim mode, and I was not feeling the joy of my journey. In fact, I was tired as shit, fighting a splitting headache and just wanted to lay down. Oh, and it was only about 7:00. Or was it? What time was it again?? No matter, I was tired and frustrated and felt off. I was cold even in my layers. Rain was in the forecast and I just wanted to bury my head. So that is just what I did.
I got ready for bed, started a movie on the computer, and lay down. Many of you will have a hard time imagining this with me NOT in a bedroom. I am perfectly comfy in my sleeping bag and sleeping pad, which is my bed. The computer was on the tent floor next to me in eye sight. I am a side sleeper anyway, so to watch this way works for me. I put on TROLLS, which is one of my favorites. No drama, no stress, just a nice little kids movie. I did not make it to the end before I started falling asleep. Mind you, it was probably around 8:00. I turned off the computer and literally rolled over to go to sleep. I heard the storms during the night and then I went back to sleep. I woke up to pee at 5:00 am. FIVE O’CLOCK!! That is some sort of new record. I literally slept for that many hours. Oh, and then I went back to bed and slept a few more hours.
By the time I woke up I had been in bed about 12 hours. Count them, TWELVE hours! I slept hard and well and it was still raining when I actually woke up. However, I started this day happy and feeling back on track. I woke up a pilgrim, in tune with my adventure, and in tune with myself. I was over that wall and feeling good.
What the hell was that, anyway? What happened? Was that a delayed reaction to the flu shot? Was I fighting off some other illness? Was it hormones? Did I just let myself get run down, and if I did, how? I was confused. I tried to pinpoint an event or a thing that would have caused such discourse. I could not and I still do not really know the cause. I just know I crashed. I crashed hard and big. I hit a wall with a discernible SPLAT. Wall hit, Michelle down.
Instead of worrying about what happened, as I really do not know, I went on to have a great day. Please read all about it in my post WHEN THE CLOUDS PARTED.
I hit a wall and I hit it hard. I listened to my body and my brain and I took care. I did what was needed, even if it did not make logical sense.
Cheers to getting over that wall!