The pitter patter of rain drops woke me. I felt no rush to get up. I wanted to lie there, content forever. Today was my last day on the Lone Star Hiking Trail and after those 13 miles I would be going home. I hadn’t expected the rain so I had a few challenges ahead of me. How was I going to take down the tent without getting the inside completely saturated? I slowly began gathering my things when I noticed a puddle at the head and feet area of the tent. I hadn’t staked out the rain fly the night before. Luckily, it wasn’t a huge deal but I took mental notes for my future trips. Cutting corners always comes back to bite you as I figured out.
I concluded that the best way to take down the tent was to remove the pole and stakes and roll up the rain fly and tent together. The concept kind of worked but the whole tent now weighed twice as much, barely fit into its bag, and was essentially completely soaked. I thought today was going to be the easy day but I was wrong. It turned out to be the longest of all, not because I was slower but because time passed at a sloth like pace. After a few miles, my socks and feet were completely saturated. My boots are great at being waterproof for small instances of submersion but they failed me at walking through continuous puddles. With four miles left to go, I sat down and rested. My feet were beginning to ache and I needed to get my feet dry. I pulled out my crusty but dry socks from the beginning of the week and put them on. I instantly felt relief. I knew I couldn’t put my feet back into my boots, the socks would immediately absorb the moisture. Then I remembered the versatility of ziploc bags. I had two unused gallon size bags that fit my feet perfectly! I slipped each foot into a ziploc bag and put my boots back on. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing this trail now.
With a mile and a half left, I started to loose what appeared to be my sanity. There were wooden walk ways and bridges that can be walked on when the trail is swampy and I continuously slipped on them and landed sideways in the mud. Not even my trekking poles could’ve saved me. Each time I fell, I just let myself lie there for a second. I was exhausted. My pack held me to the ground and left me turtled (my legs were flailing in the air and I couldn’t flip back over). My technique of escape was to roll to my side and gradually get one limb underneath me at a time until I could throw the pack weight back on top of my back. I looked like a mess every step of the way. When I wasn’t face planting off of bridges I began singing “Carol of the Bells.” The thing about me singing is that I’m lyrically challenged. I maybe had the chorus down but mostly I was busting through the woods screaming, “Diiiiinnnngg, dooooonnnngg, diiiinnnngg, dooonnnngg,” in a really high pitched voice. This continued on until I began to feel winded. At the half mile mark, I just had strange animal noise erupting from my mouth. I truly felt unstable. My good friend Chris was going to pick me up from end and the thought of having actual human interactions energized me. Finally, I was going to be able to have a full conversation with sentences! During the week I never felt deprived of human interaction but suddenly I was ecstatic at the thought. I popped out at Trailhead #15 and no one was there. I hobbled over to a spot where I could rest and after about ten minutes Chris arrived. He brought me a Clif Bar, candy, and a gallon of water. Before I managed to formulate logical sentences, I just giggled. He was weirded out by it and basically was questioning my sanity as well. Thankfully he was still willing to drive me and my stank back to my car. Thanks for being a great friend Chris!