Before the hike began, we had the first of our two final, larger First Aid classes. In this class, we were instructed on how to handle potential spinal injuries. Should something of that nature occur on an independent expedition, we needed to know how to keep the injured person stabilized until an instructor could reach the scene. As part of this, we had to practice moving an individual should they fall or sustain their injury in a dangerous place, such as on a steep hill or in a river. In my group of 7, Asante had to be moved by the 6 of us. Quite a tall order, for 6 people of varying height and strength to move a 6' 2", 180-200 pound gentleman like that. Though I'm sure it was quite funny watching the 6 of us shuffle our way, Asante in our arms, to a destination 50 feet away. We didn't get terribly good marks for fluidity :).
Then, it was onto the trail. It was easy but gave us great views of numerous craggy peaks surrounding the river valley in which we'd been walking. I was in awe on numerous occasions, marveling at how such large rock faces could be carved in such seemingly delicate ways. The sun was spectacular as well, shadowing various cuts in the rock at different times with its enduring fluidity.
Once we got to camp, Theo and I raced over to set up the tent before class began. In the process, we heard thunder, and raced to get it set up before the potential downpour began. This was by far the best tent we'd set up and in the fastest time. Setting up a tent may not carry much importance in the frontcountry, but doing it well is wildly important in the backcountry, lest you wake up wet and sick. Felt good to knock it out of the park under nature's rainy deadline.
The downpour never came, but our classes were plagued by intermittent showers. It's actually quite nice to sit through a rain shower when the temperature is just right, you've got rain gear on, and the drops aren't terribly cold. Twas a new thing I learned in the wilderness: You don't always have to run for shelter when it's raining; Try and enjoy it once in a while.
Dinner was pasta with Gado Gado sauce, which is made by mixing water, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and lots of spices. It actually tastes pretty good. I wasn't the biggest fan (I prefer the staples: Italian Sausage Prego or Cheese), but I must admit it was good for the sole reason that it something new and different.
At one point, I went with Theo to get water at the nearby river and was treated to another lovely sight on the day. The craggy peaks I'd seen earlier were much closer, and the river steadily flowed into the horizon at the foot of one peak. I thought about how that perpetually occurred, day in, day out, and had for many years. Who knows how many people had seen this same sight before me and how many would see it after me, just in the same way it existed in that moment. We were and will be a lucky few.
Lying in the tent writing my journal for the night, the rain pounded on the fly, constantly beckoning it to budge. But it never did. Hooray to a tent set-up well done :).
-----Today is day one of foreverRain or shine, its life is true;Tomorrow's grin is oh so cleverTrying to make today blue;Yesterday sits in the other cornerFighting for limelight anew;But all that matters is one tall order:Put today at the front of the queue
----- Patience is an alpine meadowIts countenance is hard to reachBehind the earthen dirt and shadowA second; A minute; An hour; Love each
This was one of the calmest days, if not the calmest, of the entire trip. We only hiked 3 miles, mainly because we had plenty of classes and spotlights to get through before the Independent Expeditions could start. The day began with a couple very tasty chocolate chip pancakes that Avery made. Quite awesome, but not terribly filling. But that was duly acceptable because of the short day. I proceeded to raid my snack bag for some extra calories.