Europe N to S: Paying for Sunrise (1/27/17)

Today’s Miles: 23.4
Total Miles: 3,935.2

Rocher de Roquebrune – January 27, 2017

Rain begins to fall. It comes lightly at first, almost timid. A few drops pop off my tarp. Tap, tap, tap on the stretched fabric. I hear them more than feel them, but they fall on me too, blown by a gusting wind under the lip of my tarp.

It’s only barely a tarp. More of a poncho really. It’s not big enough for what I’m asking it to do. The placement isn’t perfect. This peak is too exposed. The wind is too strong. Tap, tap, tap. But it wasn’t supposed to rain.

I run my hand over my sleeping bag, my down sleeping bag, and feel the fabric. It’s damp. Not wet yet, but not dry either. I stare up at the dark sky and wonder how long I can try to wait it out. Down isn’t the frail thing people say it is against water. It isn’t the Wicked Witch of the West dissolving at the first drop. It takes a bit before it starts to become useless. I wipe my hand across the wet fabric again.

“But at some point…,” I think.

It really wasn’t supposed to rain.

There is another spot, not too far away, between a few rocks. It’s not flat, not big enough for a tent, but it is hidden from the wind. If I set up there. If I moved. Maybe that would work. That or pack up and start walking, that is always an option, just start walking at midnight.

Why do I get myself into these situations?

At least it isn’t that cold. I’d be in a panic right now back in Germany. I’d be shivering, losing the feeling in my fingers. It feels like a long time ago when it was bad like that. It was cold in Italy, but it never rained, not once, not a single drop until a hundred yards over the French border. And now it is warm. Well, warmer. Of course I wouldn’t be up here at all back in Germany. I wouldn’t have taken the chance.

Tap, tap, tap. I wish I had set up in that protected spot earlier. Was there a reason I didn’t that I can’t remember now? What if there was and I just move into more problems. It’s hard to move while it’s raining. Everything is exposed, nothing is where it should be, you get wet trying to move in the rain. You get soaked and not just the shells and armor on the outside like your pack covers and taps, everything gets wet trying to move camp in the rain.

But I am wet.

My headlamp flares to life. I can’t keep waiting. The rain is here and I can’t wish it away, can’t complain that it wasn’t supposed to be this way. It is raining and I have to deal.

I shove things in bags and start hauling, moving across rocks in the dark, back and forth over a few short trips. Cords snap in the wind as I pull them loose. Rain keeps falling. I work fast. Five minutes and I’m under the tarp again. This time between two boulders, on a bit of a slope, with a few rocks jabbing up at my back.

But out of the wind.

I don’t sleep well. I barely sleep at all. My bag is damp, my clothes are wet, I keep sliding down the slope. But then the sun rises over the Mediterranean and I crawl out to stare, sitting on a perch of rock far above the sea, watching as the first rays streak out to light the red rocks of the mountains, as the clouds transformed to cotton candy pink, as the blue ocean stretches out below.

Worth it, I think.

I linger on the mountaintop, packing slowly, watching the light loose its color as the day arrives. Then I head off, down the mountain to find the Camino somewhere below where I left it to it’s easy ways.

Late in the day, I see another knob of mountains rising in the distance. I finger my headlamp. They are too far to reach in the light, but it’s not supposed to rain and maybe, just maybe, I can find some small perch up there to sleep on until the sun rises again.

I put my pack on and begin to climb.

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3 thoughts on “Europe N to S: Paying for Sunrise (1/27/17)

  1. How I enjoy your posts! Your writing brings me to where you are instantly. Not sure I want to be there this time for the cold and the wet. You are brave! You are strong! You amaze me!

  2. That climbing-up-the-mountain-even-though-I-don’t-have-to spirit has always been in you D. It is in your DNA. And I think you can blame or applaud your mom for that part of your DNA.

  3. What we value and what we are prepared to pay for it…besides, it’s not supposed to rain.
    I like your values, Daniel. Priceless.

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