2Last night was rough.
Like the kind of rough you really only hope to have to experience a couple of times in your life, rough.
The kind of rough that makes you really, really appreciate all that you have.
We had every good intention of making it to The Sourlies Bothy before nightfall. With the amount of mileage we had thought we’d covered, and what we had left to do, we knew it would be close, but aired on the side of optimism.
Well… we didn’t quite make it. With about 2 hours left in our journey and the sunlight almost gone, we quickly searched for a dry-ish, safe place to camp for the night. Thankfully we had just waterproofed the tent, and were feeling quite good about the water staying out of the tent. We also lucked out with the weather – the rain decided to stop as we began setting up our tent. Relieved doesn’t even begin to describe it.
At this point, I had fallen a few times in mud, Josh had also taken a couple of spills, and everything we were wearing was soaked.
It took a little planning, but we eventually made it into our tent in a dry, change of clothes and got ready for a long evening.
As we were ultralighting (we kept our packs under a total weight of 19lbs), naturally we found extremely lightweight gear, one of these being the sleeping bag. While the sleeping bag is rated comfortable at a temp of 45 degrees, without a sleeping pad, (I know, sometimes I think about calling ourselves “hardcore.”) it made the wet ground, with the light sleeping bag as the only barrier, keep us relatively cold.
Before we tried to rest, we had a nutritional dinner of Kit-Kats and Oatcakes and decided that tomorrow, we would find a way to bail off the trail.
I have to admit that between the two of us, there aren’t many things that keep us from sleeping. Josh and I weren’t scared of anything that night as the scariest predator out there was a fox, but trying to sleep on wet, lumpy, cold ground was very difficult. We both tossed and turned all night, trying to sleep on our sides to expose our bodies to the least amount of ground as possible.
And although we didn’t get much rest that night, we did learn that deer make noise in the wilderness.
We woke up sore and cold, and laid in our tent for I think, two hours. It was pouring outside.
Guys. The rain makes things so hard; both mentally and physically. So hard. We kept staring at the top of the tent, watching the rain hit the tent cover and slowly drip down the sides, both trying to avoid the inevitable.
We knew we had to hike, and we knew the longer we stayed in the tent, the longer it was going to take to get out of the wilderness.
We prayed that there would be a lull in the rain. All we needed was about ten minutes to get everything packed away and ready for the day. We decided that if there was no lull by 9:30am, we would pack up and get moving.
9:00 came and the rain slowed to a sprinkle.
Hesitantly, we got out of the tent, put it away, got our packs ready and headed for the trail.
This is the point where we learned that Josh really hurt himself the day before.
Like I mentioned above, we had been rushing to get to the bothy before nightfall the day before. In doing so, we were rapidly trying to cover ground. At this point, our bodies and mental with-it-all were somewhat shutting down.
Josh was quickly trying to cover ground, took one wrong step and landed almost waist deep in mud. We think that with the quickness of his movements, his injury happened either during the fall or trying to get out of the mud.
In any case, hiking out of the bush today was hard in so many ways. The absolute hardest part was to watch my fearless leader struggle so much physically. It broke my heart to see him in pain. I tried, as best I could, to support him through the day.
Some highlights of the day were reaching the Bothy, crossing a tidal pool (praise The Lord for low tide when we walked through), crossing a dangerous bridge, and trekking up 1,800ft at once.
Due to low tide, we got to walk on that rusty colored seaweed. Better that, than having to wade in it!
Sorry Mom! I know this one is going to give you anxiety. Skip by it if you don’t even want to know, okay? Love you!
We spent about 10 hours hiking out today.
I continued to fall in the mud… A lot.
And somehow through the rough day, we both kept a smile on our face.
We continued to talk to one another, verbalizing our hopes of finding a place to stay that was warm and dry. With Josh in pain, and our gear soaked from the night before and today, we prayed for any kind of shelter.
We entered the tiny village of Inverie with our fingers crossed.
Our prayers were answered when we finally stumbled across a bunkhouse. They had room for us, and took us in for the night.
I understand that we paid for a service, but our appreciation of having a hot shower, home cooked dinner, and a warm bed to sleep in set in deeply that evening. There were many times during this day that felt as if we weren’t going to make it. I have no clue how Josh made it through the day with his injury.
As we settled into bed, we agreed that we had our fill of backpacking for a while, and were excited for the sightseeing portion of our trip to come.
*** I know I’ve mentioned it before, but thank you SO much friends and family for the outpouring of love, prayers, and well-wishes. They were much needed during this portion of our adventure. ***