It’s 1:30 in the morning and I am awake. Irritatingly, annoyingly awake. I have been struggling to get enough sleep for a few night’s now. Each night I lay down exhausted, hoping “tonight” will be better. I have too much nervous anticipation to get adequate rest right now. Perhaps once I get settled into my hiking routine and exhaust myself physically, the quality and quantity of my sleep time will improve.
I finally resign myself to my fate and get up at 3:00. I sigh and slowly crawl out of my soft, warm, and extremely comfortable hotel bed. At least I won’t be late for my 6:30 shuttle I mumble. Since I now have ample time to get myself ready, I shuffle downstairs and grab the real creamers from the breakfast area.
I make myself a small pot of coffee in my room. I must be desperate because it smells amazing! I have been a self proclaimed coffee aficionado for many years now. I have a semi-pro set up in my home and purchase only high quality ingredients. A little Hamilton Beach Aroma Elite is a huge step down from the coffee lifestyle of which I am so accustomed.
Yesterday, as I traveled the length of my journey via car dropping off my supply stashes, I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland. It is amazingly beautiful here and I feel the peace all around me. It’s also quite eerie and unsettling to me at times, especially in the woods where I feel a bit too closed in and surrounded.
Those feelings are compounded by the fact I saw my first bear scat yesterday not far from the road. This was right after a local resident in Finland warned me to be on the lookout for the bears. It has been a hot and dry season. The berries were not as plentiful this year so the bears are hungry. I am normally not intimidated by black bears, but the physical evidence laying just off the trail really puts things into perspective. I mean, they DO outweigh me by a few hundred pounds! I am not real keen to get in a punching match with one over who gets my gorp.
In spite of the nervous energy, I do feel incredibly grateful I have this opportunity to spend so much time exploring this beautiful place. I pray the joys will be many and the bugs will be few. I have been spending a lot of time contemplating what a month of backpacking alone will feel like. I think in the end, I can’t really know until I’ve experienced it for myself.