Total Miles: 2,853.9
Jagdberg – November 17, 2016
Cold rain drips off the sculture’s green walls as I pack my bag. Dawn is just brightening the world, revealing the same endless sheet of grey across the sky.
My tent is almost dry again after airing out in the green shelter. It’s dry enough, I think, for one last night before I reach Siegen and a roof where I can dry everything and reset myself again.
A day of rain is never much of a problem. It’s the second day, the third, the fourth that wear into you. A wet tent that can’t dry. A sleeping bag a bit damper each night. Clothes that stink of sweat trapped under rain jackets for days. The attrition builds and saps away your energy.
It’s the same rain as it’s been for days, I tell myself. It’s the same, it really is, but it feels heavier because I feel thinner, tired of it, worn down mentally, the wetness seeping into my mind like it seeps into my equipment. I just want to see the sun.
In a grocery store parking lot, I pack away a few things for dinner and throw my pack on again. I’m standing in a covered shopping cart pen, hiding from the rain until I can get my poncho pulled over me. It snags on my backpack, the wet fabric catching against my pack cover, and I flap my arms like a penguin trying to reach it.
I feel someone’s hand grab the edge behind me and pull the poncho in place. I turn to see an older lady there. I thank her and she smiles at me as she heads to the store with her shopping cart. It was such a little thing, her help, but it made me feel like a human again after soaking in days of rain and feeling like every other person in that store looked right through me.
The rain keeps coming. My hands freeze a bit until I put on more clothes and they come back. Then I sweat too much and peel off layers again, trying to find that thin line of comfort that never seems there. I cross forested hills and open fields, small villages and little streams.
I’m tired as night comes on. I’m tired of rain, of cold, of wet shoes, of feeling like I’m under siege. But Siegen tomorrow, I tell myself, and a chance to reset again, rebuild the castle of my mind, and set off once more.