I took a course in college that included a survival overnight. We layered up our clothes and built shelters to sleep in. Southeast Alaska was cold, wet, and on the edge of snow much like it is right now in Western Washington. Despite the thick layer of soft hemlock boughs beneath us, we were still cold and struggled to sleep. I remember walking up and down the forest service road to keep warm shrouded in a plastic bag. Then we’d be too tired so we’d lay down and sleep. Then we’d get cold and start walking again. We went on like that for a while. Our instructor ended the exercise in the middle of the night and took us back to school. They weren’t trying to torture us and we’d had an effective enough learning experience.
On my bike tour there were several nights like the one in Kent where the accommodations were less than savory. There were times we didn’t get good sleep. Certainly there have been times as a parent that sleep has evaded me. But these have just been moments, not a way of life.
Nights like tonight I think of the people in our backyard that are pacing the path half asleep half awake trying to stay warm. The lack of sleep will make it hard to think clearly in the morning. Anyone would struggle to put their best foot forward.
The exercise in the woods was meant to teach us to survive in the wilderness, but perhaps it taught me something else as well.
Originally Posted February 26, 2007
Jon is already trying to sleep. Yesterday at this time we were just getting to Van Horn. We left at about noon after stopping at the hardware store. Jon did something and I got pipe insulation for my handlebars. They are quite cushy now. The man who I would guess owned the shop had an impaired walk and a drop clung to the tip of his nose. I bet he has a story. We stopped at a truck stop restaurant for lunch. Grilled cheese and blackberry cobbler a la mode... The waitress had a cast on her arm and she was out of lemonade. I picked up some more postcards in Kent, but there isn't anything here. Less than 20 years ago the last folks left. There's a squatter in the shell of a school. The post office is padlocked. There are turds all over the floor of the house we're at. I preferred the lean-to. The glass is minimal and effectively blocks the wind.
12.4 ave - 36.2 max - 1056.8 odo - 3:11:02 time